The Slovenia Times

E-books available on new public lending platform

E-book reader. Photo: Hina/STA

Members of Slovenian public libraries can access 2,000 digital books on a new public e-book lending platform called Cobiss Ela that has been lunched after a public-private partnership fell apart.

Cobiss Ela replaces Biblos, a platform that was discontinued after eleven years this may due to financial disputes between public libraries and the publisher Beletrina, which ran the platform.

The new platform presently includes 18 public libraries and five publishers but additional libraries are expected to join in future as more publishers sign up.

Each library member can borrow up to five books for up to 21 days and read them on a maximum of two devices - mobile devices, personal computers or e-readers - at the same time.

The national e-book lending platform was launched by the Association of Public Libraries with support from the Ministry of Culture and in collaboration with the Institute of Information Science (IZUM), developer of a nationwide IT system that all libraries have been using for many years.

The Culture Ministry joined the project because they consider it essential for Slovenia to have a public e-book lending platform "if we want to have e-books on the same footing as printed books," Culture Minister Asta Vrečko said at the 17 June launch.

Director of the Novo Mesto Library Luka Blažič pointed out that the platform, which came with minimal costs due to its reliance on existing systems, is completely free for libraries and thus promotes equal access to e-books.

"Both the smallest library, for example in Metlika, and the largest, like the Ljubljana library, will have exactly the same titles and the same range of e-books," he noted.

The previous lending system, called Biblos, which combined e-book lending and buying was discontinued last month because public libraries no longer wanted to finance what had become an expensive system.

Beletrina, the publisher, has meanwhile launched a proprietary platform called Beletrina Digital that offers content beyond e-books, including films and podcasts.


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