October 23, 2012
Law Libraries and Their "Willingness to Pay" for Law eBooks
Following up on yesterday's post, Assessing the Market Value of eBooks Acquired by Libraries, I professionally believe enhanced Law eBooks is "The Next Big Medium-Size Thing" but there is plenty of early anecdotal evidence that can lead one to conclude that private and government sector law libraries are not yet "willing to pay". See Grappling with the Current Law eBook Status Quo as an Institutional Buyer and Bess Reynolds' The Challenges of E-Books in Law Firm Libraries. For an overview, see generally the E-Books section of Laurie Selwyn & Virginia Eldridge's "Technology, Contracts, and Electronic Resources" chapter in Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions (IGI Global, 2012) [Amazon link].
These are the early days of the "Law eBook." Remember grappling with installing Law CDs on the desktop and in networked towers back in the bad old 1990s? While CDs ended up being a technological dead end, Law eBooks may earn a place in institutional buyers' collection development plans if our major vendors address the value proposition for library users. High, if not top, on the list of issues is there must be an eLending solution with an associated pricing mechanism based on a unified institution-centric discovery platform that is not vendor-specific.
But first all major vendors must get into the Law eBook business (think BLaw-BNA). Then they must realize that their eBooks will be a supply chain dead end without a pricing-eLending solution (think Thomson Reuters) that addresses institutional buyers requirements (think the entire industry). [JH]