Earlier this year I reported on  the New York Law Institute’s dramatic transformation into a national membership library offering an unprecedented eBook collection including over 85,000 titles. This month they have added two important new legal collections from
Lexis Matthew Bender and the American Bar Association to their eBook offerings.

The Matthew Bender and ABA collections include almost 400 legal titles.
The Matthew Bender collection excludes 4 of Bender’s classics: Moore’s Federal Practice, Nimmer on
Copyright, Chisum on Patents, Collier on Bankruptcy,
but includes over 70 important practice treatises. This new electronic
resource, powered by the Lexis/Overdrive digital platform, is currently free for
all NYLI members, allowing them to download eBooks to their devices anytime,
anywhere. These eBooks may be downloaded to members computers and a variety of
devices and used immediately.

Executive Director Ralph Monaco, sees these new offerings as providing
law firm Library Directors with 
opportunities for cost sharing. For materials which are not “core” to
the firm’s practice, “just in time” access to 
ebook treatises.

What’s in it for Lexis? Why would Lexis offer eBooks through a
membership library? I can imagine several benefits for them.  First of all, it will help drive up Lexis use. When lawyers at
member firms borrow a treatise volume, those treatises are enhanced with “live”
links to cases and statutes on Lexis. If borrowers click on those links  they will be prompted to put in their personal Lexis password. In other words –
loaning the Bender books could drive up Lexis use at member firms. Seondly, this may also
be a strategy for driving eBook adoption and ultimately growing eBook sales.
Lawyers were early adopters of online research in a pre-Internet world. They
have not embraced eBooks with the same enthusiasm. This is a way of introducing eBooks to law firms without requiring them to invest in a new technology or purchase an eBook collection. This offers firms an “incremental adoption” alternative which will give lawyers and librarians a
chance to “test drive” the technology. Ultimately firms may opt to purchase eBook
collections when they become more familiar with the benefits of the format and
functionality. The access to eBook titles will have restrictions that a subscriber would not face. Lexis will have limits on access to eBooks. Books can be
borrowed for 7 days and each borrower will be limited to borrowing a maximum of
5 volumes at a time.

Ralph Monaco, the NYLI Executive Director offered this comment on the
new Lexis/ABA offereings. “This is a transformative time at the New York Law
Insitute as we’ve begun to see our electronic books usage surpaossing that of
our print collection. We continue to reallocate our budge in that direction.
This New acquisition has been in the works for nearly two years now as we’ve
been following the growth of the Lexis Digital Library closely and we have been
working with them to reach this final implementation.”
 NYLI is offering 60 days free 
trial memberships.

Disclosure. I am a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Law Institute