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Online Vendors

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The terms offered by the platforms such ownership or hiring, downloadable or just viewable are important in accessing the advantages. There is little evidence of differences between platforms such as Safari and online commercial vendors, and research is scanty on the comparison. However, in the dealings offered, platforms offer a variety of choices to libraries. This advantage creates flexibility, allowing libraries to settle at the deal that brings out the best value while addressing the specific needs of the client. MyiLibrary platform allows download on an inter-loan program via credit payment in Canada. Online vendors such as Amazon tend to have a fixed menu of approach that limits their customer choices; they lack specifics to particular needs but takes global orientation (Hawkins 2000).

Platforms also offer information that is more reliable and creates a better opportunity of vendor-library ties since some are specialist in particular fields. Specialization of these vendors gives them a competitive edge over online vendors such as Amazon. Until recently, MyiLibrary specialized in health sciences and medical field literature. This specialization means that libraries in need of a specific literature such as Economics or Law may create ties with such a vendor platform. The specialization comes with benefits of better quality, on time updates, relevance among others. Specific packages may also be offered to libraries by such vendors due to ease of being in the same field. An example of good offers is the ‘Rough Cuts’ by Safari; this allows posting of authors’ work online before publication. Readers and libraries as such can note interesting angles of material and ask for clarification, inclusion of an element left out by the author or general comments. This keeps library specific clients up to date on the development in their field of interest (Helfer 2000).

However, these platforms have disadvantages to that online vendors they have managed to deal with. One key aspect of platform disadvantage is the non-uniformity and scattered nature of the information resources. The platform offers the same resources and many libraries push for their integration since they only result in confusion. The regulation of these platforms is also an area of concern since they prove to be flexible and manipulative at times. Online vendors such as Amazon is clear stand-alone entities whose policies rates and other aspects are unique and different (Peek & Robin 2000).

To add on to the disadvantage of platforms is their lack of competitiveness that benefits the library and the user. Little innovation in improving ease of use the EBooks can be credited with the platforms. Nevertheless, vendors such as Amazon are technological and innovation pace setters in the EBook world. The Amazon Kindle is one such innovation, beneficial to the user through allowance of ease of viewing and compatibility. In addition to the above, libraries using EBooks from platforms such as Safari have the disadvantage of the stringent terms of usage. There are indeed multiple access models with glaring inconsistencies in structure and terms. The results are multiple restrictions to the library through Digital Rights Management policies.

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