The current model of academic e-book distribution, either via aggregators or directly from publishers is fraught with inherent inefficiencies and pitfalls. Specifically, aggregators, by adapting titles to their unique platform requirements, are delaying the digital release of titles. Publishers, by promulgating a multitude of proprietary platforms or insisting upon bundled purchases, create problems of discovery and access as well as budgetary dilemmas. In both instances, there is also the issue of true ownership of the material bought. Might the solution to these problems be the creation of a new method of e-book distribution mirroring traditional book vending? That is, might traditional booksellers and publishers create a system to supply e-books in a standardized format (PDF?) which would then be housed either on local college/library servers or in cloud servers controlled by the library?
A panel consisting of two librarians, a traditional book wholesaler, a publisher, and an e-book aggregator will tackle the idea.