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New Report Offers a Swedish Take on Library eBook Systems Around the Globe

8613179649_cc65c54603_hWith the vast majority of US libraries offering ebooks (many of them through OverDrive), it’s easy to forget that not all countries are equally blessed.

The Nordic ebook distributor Elib published a report in February which summarizes the state of library ebooks in various countries around the world. The 16-page report (PDF) can be found on the Elib website, and it mainly focuses on Europe, the US, and Canada while ignoring the rest of the world.

From the report:

As digital book reading has taken off around the world over the last 10-15 years, there has been a lot of discussion regarding precisely how public libraries should incorporate this in their tasks. Resolving this in a way that is perfect for all parties involved is a challenge, and the models and markets for lending digital books have come to look quite different in different parts of the world. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of what the situation is like at the moment, and how the discussion is moving forward in a few key markets worldwide, as well as give a description of how the Swedish market has dealt with this.

The Elib report is good at covering the licensing details, pricing issues, and the opposing motives of libraries and publishers, but it’s also rather limited. There’s no mention of libraries in Africa, Asia, Australia, or South America.

I can’t explain the absence, but it did remind me that the IFLA released a similar but more comprehensive report back in 2014. They have not released a follow up report, however, so it’s rather out of date at this point.

image by Thomas Leuthard

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Bjorn March 14, 2016 um 4:33 am

First of all, thanks for linking to this!

As the author of the report, I agree that it would have been interesting to include more countries, and I’m hoping to do that in future versions. As it is, and as I believe I said in the report, it’s not intended to cover everything. This report started as an internal report, so the countries examined are mostly those that our various stakeholders and customers most commonly ask for information about. I would personally love to see more coverage of non-North American/NW European markets too.

Giulio Blasi March 14, 2016 um 6:00 am

They don’t cover Italy (,, one of the most advanced experiences in Europe (started in 2009, first digital interlibrary loan protocol in the world with publishers, worldwide licenses, 90.000 titles including ALL the major publishers, experiences with Social DRM for lending, 4.500 covered, multiple e-lending models, integration of 1.000.000 foreign titles, parallel "open collection", apps for "one click" lending, library crodwfunding with a subscription model called "MLOL Plus" in competition with Kindle Unlimited etc. etc.).

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