Archive for American Library Association
During the recent American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference, we received the news that Overdrive is working on distribution agreements with Kondansha, Shogakukan, and other Japanese Manga publishers. The end result will see thousands of Manga titles available to libraries to integrate into their catalogs.
CEO of Overdrive Steve Potash was in Japan a few weeks ago, meeting with representatives of Nintendo. Both sides were in negotiations about the HTML5 Overdrive Read app that was demoed at ALA-MW. Part of the trip entailed meeting with at least three confirmed Manga publishers to iron out agreements to have thousands of popular titles cross over to the online reading platform.
HTML5 offers the ability to render complex images and Japanese text. The Overdrive Read app will allow customers to read both English and Japanese Manga sometime this year. There is no known date for when the new system will launch, but we were told that sometime this year we can expect to see something.
The American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference is almost wrapped up, and Good e-Reader was live on the scene. We talked to many of the leading digital publishing companies focused on the modern library, such as 3M, Overdrive, Zinio, Recorded Books, and a few others. This year, many of the leading publishers, such as Scholastic, Harper Collins, Penguin, and Macmillian, were not talking digital at all! Instead they were abiding by the same philosophy on hustling tangible books. With all of the emphasis on digital content in libraries, it is odd that ebooks were severely underrepresented.
All of the major publishers we spoke to at this event were basically local sales people who had no idea on what their companies were doing in the digital space. Many claimed to just be part sales reps whose minds were boggled when we asked them simple questions.
The ALA Mid-Winter Conference was the place to be this weekend with the event trending on Twitter at all hours on Friday and Saturday. Librarians from all over North America were in attendance, talking about the shift to digital and participating in many sessions talking about big data and how libraries can get into ebooks.
If you did not attend this event, you can live vicariously through our own experiences there with the slideshow below!
In the last few years, the transition to digital ebooks in libraries has been accelerating. Many companies such as 3M, Overdrive, Baker & Taylor, and Recorded Books have all come of age and offer complete solutions for libraries offering electronic books. The American Library Association President, Maureen Sullivan, spoke to Good e-Reader about some of the issues facing libraries in this arena.
Maureen said that during 2012 librarians have become increasingly aware of the benefits of digital content. She said it was essential to stay informed on the different companies that offer solutions. She said its also important to know your audience and geographical location. It is easy for younger librarians to get carried away with wanting to offer ebooks, audio books, and video content to their patrons. Doing your due diligence on what your patrons want is of critical concern. Make no mistake, libraries going the digital route often have to spend close to $10,000 just to get set up, and many small and regional locations don’t have that type of money.
Whether libraries shift to digital or not, Maureen says that “libraries may evolve their design and be more modern, or some may even move into a pure digital experience. We will always have libraries and this is a very transitionary period we are all going though, it is very exciting time to be a librarian.”
The 3M Cloud Library System has a new terminal for overworked library staff that will allow customers to automatically checkout books in a library. The aptly named SelfCheck System R-Series is a cool system that will scan your library card and let you know the status of your current loans, or any fines you might have. You simply put a bunch of books on the bottom of the terminal and it scans all of them. It lets you know what books you want to borrow and then lists them all on the display screen. Once the entire procedure is complete you get an email sent to your address verifying the details. Libraries will celebrate this unit because it liaisons with the 3M Command Center and it’s RFID enabled.
Overdrive is hoping to bring younger readers into the library to borrow digital books in innovative new ways. The company, famous for being the largest content distribution platform, showed off its Overdrive Read HTML5 platform today to Good e-Reader at the American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference in Seattle, Washington.
The Nintendo Wii-U is the latest generation console, featuring a tablet you hold in your hands that acts as a controller when you play games. One of the neat elements is that it has a fully featured internet browser that is HTML5 compatible. You can read ebooks on your Wii-U tablet or even sned whatever content that is on your screen to a large screen television.
The HTML5 reading app that Overdrive uses was originally developed by Australian based Book.ish. It had lots of potential, which is the reason overdrive purchased the entire company last year. The platform is now seeing a wider roll-out, and customers can borrow and read books on any HTML5 compliant web-browser.
Zinio is one of the largest digital magazine companies in the world. They have built their business by offering magazines on mobile devices, like the iPad. Since they were an early launch partner, they remain a fixture in the most popular app categories. They expanded to Android, Windows 8 and have developed a new HTML5 based website to read magazines. Today we caught up with Global EVP/CMO at Zinio Jeanniey Mullen at the American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference.
Zinio has been fervently working on their new Z-Pass subscription model for magazines. You can pick 3 magazines free for 30 days, then pay just $5.00 per month. You aren’t locked into those particular magazines if you want to make a switch every month and just choose three others if you desire. They also offer premium magazines for a small extra fee. This new project has been available on their beta website for the last few months and will do a broader roll-out in the next few months.
Their beta website is a work in progress but they are developing an HTML5 Cloud Reader. This will negate the need to rely on apps to deliver a magazine experience and instead can be read in any web-browser on smartphones, tablets and other things. This aspect of their business is not ready yet for a full launch and needs a bit of work to provide a great user experience.
Zinio has a business has started a new library initiative with Recorded Books in late 2012. Recorded Books is a publisher themselves and has been involved in the library system for almost thirty years. They were the perfect partner for Zinio, because of their clout in the market. Zinio has magazines to sell and most libraries only offer eBooks, Audiobooks and video for their multimedia content. The new partnership has yielded solid results in a short period of time, with over 300 libraries offering digital magazine as of Jan 2013.
Zinio and Recorded Books have developed a turnkey content distribution system, not only for libraries, but schools too. Most of the time these institution develop their own front-end and establish their own user credentials to tap into the system for magazines. Schools and libraries can pick and choose what type of content they want. Some elementary schools for example may not want Cosmo, but may want Popular Science. Users of the system can subscribe to as many magazines they wish and part of the service. Zinio currently offers 5500 through their own platform, but only 900 of these are available to purchase for schools and libraries. This has to do with publishing distribution rights and some companies not wanting to opt into this platform.
There is a large debate circulating around the industry with publishing standards. EPUB3 and HTML5 seem to be the two formats that people are trying to standardize. Zinio is betting on HTML5 as the best solution in 2013 to effectively deliver content to as many devices as they can. Recorded Books says that EPUB3 is mainly geared towards books and not really previlant in the magazine world. Interactive content is the future with National Geographic being one of the flag-bearers. Their digital edition has mainly the same content, but on the Zinio platform you have animations of spaceships and also video. You couldn’t do that sort of thing with EPUB3, so it looks like HTML5 is winning out in the magazine sector.
The 3M Cloud Library system is one of the newest entries to the market that focuses on getting libraries hooked up with the ability to loan out ebooks. The company has grown over the last year and now sees almost 1,000 different libraries offering its ebooks and other multimedia content to their patrons. We caught up with Tom Mercer, the Digital Library Business Development Manager at 3M.
One of the ways 3M differentiates itself from the competition is by offering Discovery Terminals for libraries to purchase. This puts a touchscreen computer for patrons to use to check out books automatically. One of the cool elements of the terminals is that they display QR codes that your phone can scan for quick ebook borrowing. They also provide an e-reader that libraries can try to purchase for their customers. Tom Mercer of 3M told us that “it’s mainly urban libraries who invest in a lot of digital content that are the ones that primarily buy the e-readers to loan out.” It seems as though the small to medium sized libraries don’t want to shell out the extra money for the e-reader and they often offer their own devices like Sony or the Nook.
3M has really focused on app development for Android and iOS. The company saw a dramatic increase in over usage during the holiday season and specifically cited the iPad mini as being a strong avenue for growth. In order to facilitate third party development, it has released a series of API tools that libraries can use to make their own custom apps. 3M is also focused on international expansion into Canada, which is on the roadmap for later this year. They big thing 3M needs to work out is international publishing rights to distribute books into major Canadian centers.
Speaking of publishing, Penguin Publishing has been the Holy Grail for content distribution companies that want to provide Penguin’s digital book versions to the public. Penguin, over the last few years, has been very resistant to the entire concept of free borrowing, citing in the past “free ebook borrowing devalues the book and the author.” Late last year, Penguin turned an about face and started a pilot project with 3M. The publisher initially ran in New York, and due to the positive outcome from the New York Public Library, Penguin has expanded and now offers its books as part of the total 3M package.