No Shelf Required: E‐books in Libraries

Peter Lund (Loughborough University Library, United Kingdom)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 9 August 2011



Lund, P. (2011), "No Shelf Required: E‐books in Libraries", The Electronic Library, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 554-555.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

If you need to know about e‐books you need to read this book. No Shelf Required covers all aspects of e‐books in libraries with chapters on the e‐book and the Internet, followed by student learning and e‐books before examining the introduction of e‐books in the school library, the public library and in the academic library with a chapter devoted to each. Further chapters cover acquisition, use and preservation, and e‐book standards. The final chapter looks at the future of academic book publishing: e‐books and beyond.

The editor is well known in the e‐book field through her blog of the same inspired name, and the 13 contributors, garnered from a variety of American institutions, have all written informative and interesting chapters.

The contributors do a good job in communicating their expertise on e‐books, so, for instance, metadata, digital rights management, EPUB, and problems with the ISBN are all discussed within the chapter on e‐book standards. Other chapters give well‐structured, practical and sensible consideration to a multitude of different aspects of e‐books, such as types of e‐books, access models and licensing. Discussion on the standardization of e‐book statistics found in the “Use and preservation of e‐books” chapter may be particularly valuable since the measurable use of e‐books is likely to be fundamental to many seeking to implement and sustain them successfully. A short section on marketing e‐books to faculty and students is compelling but left me wanting more, particularly as one of the challenges facing e‐books, highlighted elsewhere in the book, is patrons who want print.

It is encouraging that while expertise with, and enthusiasm for, e‐books in libraries oozes from the text, the thorny issues facing librarians facilitating e‐book use are not overlooked. For instance, “Acquiring e‐books” considers the difficulties in offering e‐books as inter‐library loans, on electronic reserve, the problems and advantages of patron driven selection and e‐book licensing.

This book contains some fascinating case studies such as the “River Forest Public Library experience with the Kindle” and the “Penn State University Sony e‐reader project”, which may inspire the librarian looking to learn from projects using e‐reading devices. There is also further discussion on such e‐book readers in the final chapter which gives a thoughtful view of the future development of e‐books.

Librarians, publishers and students wanting to learn about, or implement, e‐books will find this well indexed book a core resource and as such it is recommended reading.

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