Chicago may be in a heat wave, but for the annual conference there this weekend of the American Library Association, there’s a welcome breeze blowing. Libraries still matter in the digital age, it turns out, even if the numbers of e-books on virtual shelves remain limited.
“After a couple of tense years, the library community is definitely feeling a breeze at its back,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “We seem to be over the ‘Do libraries matter?’ phase of the debate. That was underscored earlier this week by a Pew Research report that shows young people still love their libraries. And on the e-book question, all the major publishers are now in the e-book lending game. But, that doesn’t mean the fight is over.”
Also in CCC’s weekly Friday update on the world of books and publishing, Albanese tells Beyond the Book’s Chris Kenneally that even if Barnes & Noble discontinues the Nook tablet, the bookstore chain won’t leave behind all e-readers.
“I don’t think this is a fatal shot for Barnes & Noble,” says Albanese, author of the bestselling e-book, Battle of $9.99, on the e-book price-fixing trial. “B&N will continue to sell E-Ink Nooks, of course. Actually, it’s a smart move given the increasingly crowded tablet market, and touches on something we learned during the Apple trial— the tablet portion of the digital reading market is still pretty modest.”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.