– that’s where a small but increasing number of readers are looking for books
From The London Book Fair Spotlight:
No one would deny that there is a crisis in public libraries and it won’t be over on 6 May. Whatever may be promised in the scramble for votes, nobody expects the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to find a pile of cash with which to boost book budgets. There is, however, money available for digital projects and while that in itself causes apoplexy in some quarters, it does prove that every cloud has a silver lining.
Except in this case it’s the cloud itself that’s a shimmering silver. For Bloomsbury Library Online, now rebranded Public Library Online as other publishers sign up to the initiative is, essentially, a library in the clouds, or rather cloud, which can be perused and read from anywhere by anyone with an internet-enabled device, be it a mobile phone, a PC or a netbook. Readers are no longer dependent on library opening hours (though of course some may read from a library’s own computers) or the vicissitudes of public transport. Nor are they inconvenienced by the waiting list for one of the two copies of the latest must-read. All that’s needed is a library membership card, a log-in ID and they can read any book, any time – and in any type size, a great boon for the visually impaired and the elderly, who are among the library service’s heaviest users but who’ve had to choose from only a small range of large-print books. There are none of the complicated DRM issues that many see as barriers to the sale of e-books.