Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Digital Summit, which was organized by the New Hampshire Library Association (NHLA). After a warm welcome from NHLA President Lori Fisher and New Hampshire’s ALA Chapter councilor Steve Butzel, I launched into my presentation on everybody’s favorite topic: ebooks (OK maybe that’s a stretch). It was an audience of more than 100 librarians, and I sensed great interest in the topic.
I provided the requisite update on the ALA publisher meetings in New York and related activities. However, the bulk of my remarks focused on my most important insight during these past months: It is fundamentally flawed to view our problem as one between publishers and libraries. Our thinking truly must focus on the publication ecosystem, which includes distributors, authors, retailers, and other entities. Using a narrow framing of the problem during a time when all components of the ecosystem are experiencing challenges to their futures significantly raises the probability that libraries will end up in a disadvantageous position.