I was speaking to a friend in an academic library a couple of weeks ago and she mentioned her library recently signed a contract with a publisher? jobber? to provide patron driven acquisitions. Maybe this is old news for you academic librarians but it's the first time I had heard the term. The vendor catalogue is linked into the library catalogue. When students search the library catalogue they may also retrieve hits for electronic books the library does NOT own. If the students wants that ebook, they simply download it. The first download of a specific title is FREE. If the ebook is downloaded a second time, the library account is debited. They are contracted to spend a specific amount and I don't know who owns the book -- the student or the library. But the concept is intriguing.
Then I read on the Quill & Quire blog about a very cool print-on-demand copier called the Espesso Book Machine. It retails for $125,000 U.S. Very affordable. I see no reason why every Law Society library in Canada couldn't acquire one at some point. Several university libraries already have one, including the University of Alberta.
Wouldn't it be great if we could stream legal publisher catalogues into our own library catalogues for lawyer-driven-acquisitions. Lawyers could request a book but instead of, OR in addition to, downloading the book onto their ereader, they could "send" the request to a print-on-demand machine located at the local Law Society library. The book would print with a tag identifying the law firm/library/person who requested it . Perhaps the library would also be cc'd that an order had been sent. Library staff would then pick up the book at a suitable time. Linking these two ideas together would provide lawyers with the books they want/need while still providing the library with one copy of a physical book that can be shared and passed around. Hopefully there could be a monitoring function as well, whereby maybe the book request passes through the library instead of going directly to the print on demand machine. NO more shipping costs! I love the idea weaving lawyer driven acquisitions with print-on-demand.
The Espresso can print a 300 page book in under 4 minutes. It can handle up to 850 pages and the size of the softcover book is "infinitely customizable".
You might want to watch the Espresso video. It's only 4 minutes long. http://www.ondemandbooks.com/video2.htm These guys should really be showing at CALL!
Fraser Milner Casgrain, Edmonton