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The Top Ten eBooks Checked Out by Harrison Cardholders

March 26th, 2012
Jennie · Staff Recommendations

Publishers’ Role in Libraries’ eBook Lending

In the last two months, the amount of downloads from our digital media catalog has grown three times more than the same period last year. One of the questions that our patrons often ask is why some of the most popular eBooks are available on the Barnes and Noble website or, but not on our Digital Catalog. This is because a few of the big publishers have not yet found the right business model of selling eBooks to libraries.

There is an eBook tug of war between publishers and libraries. Publishers use DRM (digital rights management) to protect their eBooks from piracy and loss of sales. Copyright law allows libraries to lend digital works to their members, but DRM-packaged e-books are governed by licenses and thus contract law, not copyright law. Simon & Schuster and MacMillan have not yet licensed eBooks for library lending. Last month, Penguin terminated its contract with OverDrive, our digital media distributor; so eBooks published by Penguin will no longer be available for libraries to purchase from OverDrive. HarperCollins limits each of their licensed library eBooks to 26 downloads at maximum. Starting this month, libraries have to pay five times more than consumers do to purchase Random House eBooks. Other publishers like Hachette make their decisions on title availability; this means that some eBooks are sold to libraries as soon as they are published but some are postponed until months or a year later. While the big publishers are searching or testing different business models, some of their subsidiaries and more than 1,000 independent publishers have happily sell eBooks to libraries.

Library patrons are powerful customers of publishers. They use the library to discover new books and as a result many of them buy these books or even books that they have previously borrowed. A recent survey reveals that libraries boost eBook business. There is no better place for writers to connect to their readers than the public library. The president of the American Library Association, Molly Raphael, pointed out that publishers and libraries shared the same goal of putting authors and readers together and this powerful bond will drive us to find solutions that work for both of us.

The top ten eBooks checked out by Harrison cardholders:

The Help by Kathryn StockettThe story is set in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi and told in the voices of three women, two black maids Aibileen and Minny, and a white socialite Skeeter. Together, these seemingly different women join to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLainThis fictional account of Hemingway’s first marriage beautifully captures the sense of despair and faint hope that pervaded the era (1920s, Paris) and their marriage.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura HillenbrandTells an unforgettable story how Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner and an airman in WWII, survives airplane crash, drifts days at the sea, and endures the extreme cruelty treatment of POW. It is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, told by the author of Seabiscuit.

The Confession by John GrishamAn innocent man is about to be executed. Only a guilty man can save him. But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man? It is a story told by the master of legal thriller.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsA mysterious island, an abandoned orphanage, and a strange collection of very curious photographs all wait to be discovered in this unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonHarriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. MartinHere is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels in the Song of Ice and Fire Series that includes two stories. A Clash of Kings is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens long ago when a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. A Storm of Swords tells a story of how warriors, a dragon price, and his sister win the deadliest conflicts: the game of thrones amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor BrownThis is a story of three sisters who love books and each other, but have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, especially with one another. Faced with their parents’ frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham VergheseMarion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, this is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles–and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.

Water for Elephants by Sara GruenThe novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When he learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures, including an elephant who only responds to Polish commands. He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show’s star performers—a romance complicated by Marlena’s husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals that Jacob cares for.

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