In what appears to be a big step for electronic media, the Cleveland Public Library has inked a deal to bring eBooks to PDA’s, PC’s and anything else with an appropriate eBook reader.
The initiative will allow the downloading of content via the Library’s Web site. They plan on offering best-sellers and a few reference titles to begin, but they will likely expand the offerings if all goes well.
“The new Cleveland Public Library digital book collection will be another example of our dedication to utilizing technology for “Access-Anytime-Anywhere”, stated Andrew Venable, Jr., Director of Cleveland Public Library. “In addition to academic, research and business titles, our digital media collection will permit patrons from the comfort of their home or office to borrow eBook versions of the latest titles from best-selling authors such as Michael Crichton, Neil Gaiman, Tony Hillerman, Clive Barker, or Joyce Carol Oates. Our Digital Library Reserve will also be a first that enables our patrons to access digital magazines, periodicals, newspapers, as well as audio books and educational materials,” Mr. Venable added.
This move definitely puts the CPL in the spotlight as others wait to see how this plays out. A number of questions remain to be answered like – How much does it cost? And perhaps the biggest question, How do they keep the content from being freely distributed and how will they fight the related copyright infringement issues? I see this as a great step forward though, especially as PDA screens continue to get more clear and larger. I can’t wait to give this service a test drive.