The Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library expects to offer e-books early in 2012, thanks to a new three-year agreement between 3M and the Wyoming State Library.
The contract will provide a database for the 23 county libraries and also all state community colleges to access e-books.
Sheridan County Fulmer Library Director Cameron Duff explains how the contract, for $5,000, allows for a huge savings when compared with libraries signing individually for e-books.
Additionally, Duff said an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 will be needed to start material databases. That total will be split with half coming from the state and the other from the group of county libraries.
Duff added that there are several reasons why it's better to use a state contract when starting from scratch in forming e-book offerings - the big one being cost. For example, if libraries had signed individually, branches would have had to spend that $40,000 to $50,000 per year just to buy materials. Also, e-books are not necessarily permanent purchases. Some publishers require libraries to buy new versions of e-books after a certain number of check-outs. With the state contract, renewal purchases are consolidated at the state-level.
While the contract saves on cost, there is at least one disadvantage. For now, whichever titles that the state purchases out of the more than 100,000 3M offers will not be available to Kindle users.
Some Wyoming libraries already offer e-books on Kindles through Overdrive - a $5,000 cost to the respective library.
Duff added that Kindle apps can be downloaded on iPhones and iPads and 3M titles accessed that way. There is a measure in the contract that says the state can opt out if 3M doesn't reach an agreement with Amazon for the Kindle service. However, Duff said he expects there to be a Kindle agreement by next summer.
Android phones, personal computers, iPads and iPhones, and various other e-readers will all be compatible with library e-books.