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CLA statement about the Adobe data transmission issue

The full text of the Canadian Library Association statement published Friday is provided below or link to the PDF.

Statement Regarding the Transmission of Unencrypted Data via Adobe Digital Edition 4 Software
October 10, 2014

The Canadian Library Association champions the values of Canadian libraries and considers these values an important part of providing collections and services. Among these values is the library patron’s right to privacy and their right to understand how their personal information is used by organizations with whom they interact. These values are described in the Canadian Library Association’s Position Statement on Access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) of June 2012.

We were concerned to learn that software provided by Adobe that is commonly used in the delivery of ebook content by libraries is contravening those values in a very serious manner.
We understand through recent postings on The Digital Reader and Ars Technica that Adobe Digital Editions 4, the software frequently used to manage eBooks and DRM (digital rights management) has been transmitting unencrypted data about patron reading history to Adobe servers.

Most libraries that lend ebooks that have publisher-imposed DRM restrictions in place are obligated to advise patrons to use Adobe Digital Editions if they use computers to manage their eBooks. Adobe’s error in transmitting unencrypted data about library patrons compromises libraries’ commitment to citizens to keep their information secure and undermines our stated values.

In addition to the issue of unencrypted data transmission, we encourage Adobe and other resource platforms to provide clear terms of use that identify what information is gathered about users and their reading habits and how that information is shared. Library patrons trust Canada’s libraries with their personal information, and CLA supports libraries in their responsibilities around protection and disclosure of personal information, including reading choices.

CLA looks forward to the swift resolution of this issue by Adobe, along with a renewed commitment to user privacy protection. In the meantime, we will encourage our members to communicate these concerns to their patrons and offer alternatives to those who wish to ensure their privacy is protected.

The Canadian Library Association/Association canadienne des bibliothèques (CLA/ACB) is the national voice for Canada’s library communities, representing the interests of libraries, library workers, and all those concerned about enhancing the quality of life of Canadians through information and literacy. CLA/ACB represents 1,410 library workers, libraries, and library supporters; and Canadian libraries serve in excess of 34 million Canadians.

Posted in Libraries, Vendors.

ALA statement on Adobe privacy breach & Adobe’s response

On Monday, October 13, ALA posted a statement including Adobe’s response to the ALA request for information. Adobe has reported that they expect an update no later than the week of October 20.

Adobe’s response included the following:
“Adobe Digital Editions allows users to view and manage eBooks and other digital publications across their preferred reading devices—whether they purchase or borrow them. All information collected from the user is collected for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers and distributors. Additionally, Adobe Digital Editions is designed to collect this information solely for eBooks opened in Adobe Digital Editions or stored in the Adobe Digital Editions library directory, and not for any other eBook on the user’s computer. User privacy is very important to Adobe, and all data collection in Adobe Digital Editions is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy.”

ALA notes that in addition to the data transmission issue: “…ALA also is concerned about the possible over-collection and unnecessary retention of sensitive user data. Are all of the data elements collected necessary for product functionality? Is such sensitive user data deleted soon after the need for operational purposes is fulfilled? These issues and guidance are outlined in ALA’s policy statements and tools created by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom such as the Privacy Toolkit and the Choose Privacy Week website.”

Posted in Libraries, Vendors.

Adobe Digital Editions Privacy Breach

On Monday evening, The Digital Reader reported that Adobe Digital Editions software was transmitting unencrypted personal information from users’ computers back to Adobe. The data included reading habits and ebooks stored on the computer.

Based on current information, the privacy breach affects a certain subset of library patrons — those who use Adobe Digital Editions version 4 on their desktop. This is typically patrons who use an eReader, such as a Kobo or Sony Reader, or read library books on their computers using the software directly.

Version 4 was released on September 8, 2014. Earlier versions of the software are not known to have this issue, so the older versions are better choices until this issue is resolved and library patrons should not update their software.

OverDrive tweeted yesterday that they are reviewing the situation and will comment when they have more information.

Jim Loter, Director of IT at Seattle Public Library, blogged earlier today about the news and shared a letter from the library to OverDrive.

Adobe responded to the Digital Reader last night, stating that user data is “collected solely for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers.”

Other links associated with the discussion:

Further details about the situation will be posted as they become available.

Posted in Devices, Libraries, Publishers, Vendors.

Canadian ebook sales plateau in 2014

From Publishers Weekly on September 19th, “publishers say that e-book sales in Canada have plateaued. BookNet’s Noah Genner says that BookNet has “paused” its consumer panel survey research on e-reading because the growth in digital books seems to have paused. “The numbers we’re hearing for e-book unit sales is still around 17%, 18%, 20%, that kind of range,” he says, noting that the rates vary considerably depending on genre. “We know for the genre categories inside fiction, some of [the rates of e-reading] are quite high.””

The article includes comments from publishers and notes that sales are high for certain titles.

Posted in Publishers, Retail.

eBooks third in US sales

Publishers Weekly reports that eBooks rank third in unit sales by format at 23% for the first half of 2014 based on data from Nielsen’s books and consumers survey. Paperbacks are most popular at 42% and hardcovers are just 2% ahead of ebooks, at 25%.

Within the specific categories of adult fiction and young adult fiction, ebooks represented 30% of unit sales, while among children’s sales excluding YA, ebooks represented 13%.

Posted in Publishers, Retail.

New study on ereader vs print comprehension

From the Guardian on August 19: “A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were “significantly” worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.

The study, presented in Italy at a conference last month and set to be published as a paper, gave 50 readers the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half read the 28-page story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback, with readers then tested on aspects of the story including objects, characters and settings.”

Posted in Devices.

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Early report from pilot shows libraries drive sales

A UK library eBook pilot showed that of 464 books loaned through the public libraries participating, patrons bought 20 books. The pilot launched in March 2014 and is planned for one year.

Posted in Libraries, Publishers, Retail.

eBook vs. Paper: a thoughtful discussion

Financial Times recently posted an interesting discussion of the varying research on whether reading on paper or screen is better, identifying why it’s still too early to make this judgment.

Posted in Devices.

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eBooks in Canada: The Next Chapter — webinar Tuesday, July 8

Join Christina de Castell from Vancouver Public Library for a one-hour webinar “E-books in Canada: The Next Chapter” about eBooks in public libraries on Tuesday, July 8 at 12pm Eastern/9am Pacific, offered by the Education Institute.

Hear the latest news on the e-book advocacy front and get up-to-date on this fast moving area of public library collections. Topics covered will include research from the publishing industry, consumer trends, and an overview of the e-book products entering the Canadian library market, including the latest news from ALA.

Key benefits:
- Get caught up on research and developments in the Canadian and international e-book industry
- Find out how children and teens are using e-books
- Learn about new trends and products coming to market

Christina de Castell is Director, Resources & Technology at Vancouver Public Library, where she is responsible for oversight of service and strategy for technology, collection development, digital services and technical services. A member of the CULC eBook Task Force since its inception in 2010, IFLA’s eLending Working Group, and the leadership group of ReadersFirst, Christina is a regular speaker on e-book and technology topics.

Register online via the Education Institute.

Posted in Libraries.

New OverDrive features

OverDrive announced a number of new features at the ALA Conference, including:

  • new licensing models including always available on more titles and cost-per-checkout for patron driven acquisition, initially on movie content
  • catalogues of graphic novels, manga and new children’s ebooks and picturebooks in EPUB3 with fixed layout
  • the ability to migrate titles from Advantage libraries to consortia when they’re no longer as popular
  • audio narration features
  • the elimination of the Adobe activation step in August
  • new content in EPUB3 format in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and others, as well as interfaces in these languages

The above features and new streaming movie content will be available in Canada. So far, the Simon & Schuster content is not available in Canada. New content providers that are available in Canada include Penguin Canada, Dorling Kindersley, Wimpy Kid, and Warner Brothers.

OverDrive also presented interesting new promotional options to integrate excerpts from books into websites, including a widget so libraries can do this themselves.

Posted in Libraries, Vendors.