I came across some sources of really useful information as a result and want to highlight them here.
Firstly, there’s a really great overview of the global ebook market, produced annually by Rudiger Wischenbart Content and Consulting. It’s really good for putting our own book industry in context.
Next, if you want to know what public libraries across Europe are doing in terms of ebook lending, a good source of information is the NAPLE blog. NAPLE is the National Association of Public Libraries in Europe, and there’s quite a few articles on there about public library e-lending in a variety of countries.
At the conference, I learnt that there are now five projects in the US which are developing platforms for public libraries to host and lend ebooks:
Evoke – the one that started it all off. It consists of a number of organisations headed by Douglas County Libraries, and has relationships with around 500 publishers.
The Marmot Library Network in Colorado implemented the Douglas County model for a range of libraries.
Enki launched in 2013 and is delivered by the Califa Library Group, headed by Contra Costa County Libraries, using the Douglas County model.
Amigos is a new project with a range of partners across Texas.
Library Simplified is another new project, ten public library systems led by the New York Public Library.
All five projects represent an alternative. All five are working on the principle that public libraries have power and reach, can decide for themselves what content to make available rather than depending on aggregators, and can develop huge audiences for new authors, whether mainstream or self-published.