Interesting idea. I can't help but you might check with your public library. Overdrive supplies the ebook services for Centre County Libraries. You can check Overdrive at
Please keep us informed on what you learn.
All, I have done a fair amount of research on this, too. You can't really do this right now due to issues similar to copyright infringements but for digital data. There are 2 exceptions. 1) If you are a paid subscriber to a service like Overdrive, which is the best one I have found for Christian works. 2) If you are offering titles that are public domain and not covered by copyright laws.
If you want option 2, check out Project Gutenberg. You can at least play with it to see how it would mesh with your system and how to set it up with an eye to the future. Most of these titles, though, are ridiculously old and you might find very little to no demand for them.
If you want option 1, prepare a VERY GOOD proposal for your leadership. The last time I checked, Overdrive was charging $6000 per year for subscriptions. I am guessing that is out of most of our league.
Interestingly, Overdrive does now have a 'teaser' on their website that they have started offering flexible pricing schedules for smaller libraries and consortia, but I sent a request for information three weeks ago and still have not gotten a response. If you find out anything, please let all of us know as we all want in!!!!
Glenn, woohoo!! This is great news. Perhaps we are on the way. My own church probably has between 1001 and 3000 members, but this price would still be way over my budget. In my situation, we have many members that just don't utilize the library for whatever reason. It would be much better for me if they looked at registered library patrons. Any chance of that? Haha. Are they counting kids in this number too?
Good question about using the library patron count. We tried that one with Overdrive, and it didn't fly. In their defense, they charge county consortiums on population, and I'm pretty sure most residents do not have library cards. It seems to like a similar screnario.
Counting children? Oh, yes, they should be counted! With schools adopting iPads, with the expanded publishing of chidren's eBooks, with many picture eBooks for pre-school, I'm thinking children may become one of our larger groups using church eBook services.
I don't mean to dismiss the substantial budget hit that eBook services will be to most church libraries. It will be a hit for our church library, too. But now may be the time to help your budget committee understand the urgency. Adults and children already get their eBooks somewhere...shouldn't it be be in the safety of the church library? (Take a look at your public library eBook offerings...it's scary!) And you might also highlight the great deal you get for your expediture...700 or so current titles added each year for your $1500 annual cost. Sounds like a "deal" to me.
I don't have a budget like that either. In fact, I requested $600.00 for this years' budget, but it was cut to $200.00 because of the terrible economy. There are lots of cuts being made in all areas this year at our church. Two hundered is not much. I hope to have enough for at least my necessities.
Glenn, would that give us access to even secular titles?
I had given a lot of thought over the past 2 years about this issue. Is there perhaps any way they might consider other options? Maybe an even lower tier pricing that somehow restricts access to everything except Religion titles, Christian living, etc.? Or even some sort of pricing system where we pay a flat fee for a set number of downloads, like say $500 a year and you get 100 downloads. Once your library reaches 100 downloads you are cut off until the next year. Are they open to considering other ideas like these?
Yes, thanks so much, Glenn, for your work!
Is there a web site or two that you'd recommend for us to learn the details and options for lending ebooks? There is so much that I don't know, and I need to get moving on this whole issue now, as we have many teens and adults who are savvy with technology here in southern California, and our pastors want to know what we can do for them in our library.
Thanks for your help,
Santa Clarita, CA
I'm sorry, I don't know of any websites that provide a good tutorial on the topic of eBooks. I would suggest, as Buford Carter did earlier in this thread, that you spend some time at the Overdrive site (overdrive.com).
Also, there is an "eBook Update" article in the "Articles of Interest" section on the CLN homepage. It includes the most current information about the work with Overdrive and a few suggestions for getting your library ready.
For some of our workshops we assembled a Q&A eBook brochure. I would be glad to send you a PDF if you (or anyone else) want to contact me direct (firstname.lastname@example.org).