Archive for Digital Library News
As readers of eBooks continue to expand their reading preferences, they may find that their library or school doesn’t offer digital audiobooks or videos. On the other side, a library or school may not know that their users are interested in these formats. How can people let their library or school know if they want titles in formats not offered?
The best way to request audiobooks or video is simply to ask. Readers can ask library staff members in person, over the phone, or via email. Many library websites offer a feedback or contact form to communicate with library staff.
Users of the OverDrive platform can easily make recommendations to their library or school for titles to add to the collection through a feature called “Recommend to Library.” Recommend to Library allows users to expand search results or browse titles not yet in the library’s collection but available for the library to purchase. For example, if a user searches for a favorite author and the library only offers a few of that author’s titles, the user can click to view all the titles by that author that the library could purchase for the collection. As well with this feature, users can search for a specific title, and if it is not offered, click “Additional Titles to Recommend” on the search results page to see if the library has access to purchase it. This action will search the entire OverDrive catalog of hundreds of thousands titles available to that library or school. The user can then click “Recommend” and submit their recommendation to the library for consideration. The user can also request to be added to the waiting list if the library purchases it. If the title is purchased, the user will receive an email alert notifying them of the purchase, as well as a link to borrow the title if requested.
User recommendations are managed in the OverDrive admin system, allowing libraries to manually review and consider, or automatically purchase titles that meet certain criteria and/or fit within their budget. Many libraries have set aside a percentage of their digital collection budget solely to fill recommendations from users. It’s an easy and effective way for libraries to continue building a collection that serves their community’s interests.
Libraries have access to OverDrive’s catalog of nearly 2 million titles in audiobook, eBook, music and video formats from more than 2,000 suppliers, spanning nearly every genre. Libraries build a custom collection to suit their needs and interests, and can purchase additional formats and copies at any time. Circulation reports are available for library staff to evaluate usage, borrowing habits, and demand for certain subjects and formats. This real-time data helps libraries determine how best to utilize their digital collection budget to ensure a high return on investment.
Libraries are always looking for opportunities to keep readers engaged. Stocking their virtual shelves with the formats and titles that their users want is possible through personal communication as well as automated tools available to facilitate the process for both the user and library or school.
Library Journal has released the results of its 2014 survey, which tracks materials spending in public libraries across the country. The libraries are categorized according to patron size and circulation size, as well as budget size. In what comes as a tremendous surprise given the frightening state of libraries’ crisis-level budgets, spending actually increased microscopically, which is still far better than a decrease.
The spending on print books, movies/DVDs, and CDs or other downloadable music was interesting, despite the easy availability of movies and music from other sources. While music circulation and spending has dropped, DVDs remain the single best investment with the circulation far outweighing the financial cost.
The unfortunate reduction in print book purchasing could go either way; while ebook spending did increase for most libraries regardless of size, overall materials spending decreased in library systems who had suffered branch closing, reductions in staff, and reductions in operating hours.
In even better news, every category of library size reported an overall increase in circulation for a total 2% increase. In a finding that speaks to the vital role that libraries play, it was those libraries that serve rural communities that reported the highest book circulation numbers, largely due to the lack of bookstores in these communities and the unavailability of “one day delivery lockers” or Sunday delivery from online retailers.
Interestingly, libraries that reported a decrease in total book circulation actually pointed to ebooks as the culprit. With the ease of purchase and download and the more affordable price of digital over print, it appears as though consumers are quick to press the “buy it now” button instead of waiting for the book to become available through the library, either in print or in digital. This phenomenon has been shared for years from companies like Kobo and OverDrive, who’ve worked to convince publishers that library lending and ebooks are good for their business.
The full report from Library Journal is available HERE.
Soon users will be able to watch or listen to audiobooks via their TV thanks to the recent tie-up between OverDrive and Roku. This will open up another medium to access audiobooks, and a popular one at that considering Roku’s reach among the masses (the company recently revealed it has shipped more than 8 million devices in the US). Such a move will also act to boost OverDrive’s newly launched Streaming Video service that now offers 4,000 titles. These deal with topics such as children’s content, educational, spiritual, self-help and so on. Not to mention OverDrive’s vast collection of audiobooks that now can be tapped into via Roku. What’s more, OverDrive’s Roku channel will also be free.
“Today’s public libraries already offer tens of thousands of best-selling digital audiobooks and videos in every category,” said Karen Estrovich, OverDrive’s Director of Collection Development. “Roku extends the value of the OverDrive libraries’ digital media collections to TVs in millions of living rooms, kitchens, dens — anywhere the WiFi reaches.”
Roku provides a device that can be used to watch internet streaming videos on televisions making it quite an inexpensive medium to watch online videos on TVs. Now with OverDrive launching a Roku channels, users will be able to access the digital audiobooks and video content from their local libraries and listen or watch them on their TVs. This will make for a convenient and easy method of downloading digital content from libraries to be savored on TVs in our homes. OverDrive’s Roku channel will have all the audiobooks and Streaming Video catalog that the libraries have been fed by OverDrive. Users will have to register their library card numbers, select the OverDrive channel from Roku menu and select their library. Post that, users will be able to borrow titles from the library to be viewed on TVs.
Meanwhile, OverDrive has announced their new Roku channel will be demoed at the upcoming Public Library Association (PLA) Conference to be held in in Indianapolis between March 11 and 15. Visit booth #721 to for a live experience of the new Roku channel.
From the very beginning of digital lending through libraries and personal consumer shares, publishers have been wary of the implications of ebook lending. Once libraries became convinced to at least experiment in the library realm with their digital titles, artificial barriers were often put in place, such as limits on numbers of checkouts and 300% increases in price over an identical title in print. Libraries have suffered under the weight of trying to offer digital lending to their patrons while still ensuring that bestselling and front list titles make it to their virtual shelves.
Digital content provider OverDrive made a monumental announcement today in saying that Macmillan has made its entire ebook catalog available for the first time for lending through OverDrive’s school library partners. From the initial six hundred-plus titles that the publisher originally offered, Macmillan has now made more than 12,000 ebooks available to school libraries for student lending.
“Macmillan offers a wide collection of children’s and young-adult eBooks perfect for the K-12 audience,” said Karen Estrovich, Director of Collection Development at OverDrive. “We are thrilled that our U.S. and Canadian school partners will now have access to these titles, which are highly popular and often requested.”
Unlike some of the restrictions put on ebook lending, Macmillan has made all of its ebooks available without circulation limits, but still under a very standard one-book-one-user model, meaning schools who wish to stock more than one copy–just as they must do with print editions–must purchase additional licenses. The books are, however, only licensed for a 12-month period.
OverDrive has made major strides in the lending sector by helping publishers not only see the security behind opening up their catalogs to lending, but also to see the actual benefits in terms of consumer engagement and increased sales revenue once a book has been borrowed.
School and public libraries may have gotten a boost today through a new agreement between McGraw-Hill Professional and Baker & Taylor. This agreement will make more than 5,000 technical, medical, and professional titles available for ebook lending; more than 700 of these titles are recently published works.
“We are at the forefront of the digital transformation in publishing and are committed to expanding our digital offerings to public and school library customers throughout the world,” says Philip Ruppel, president of McGraw-Hill Professional. “We are pleased to team with Baker & Taylor on new ways to make our world-renowned content instantly accessible to library patrons.”
“We are delighted our library customers and their patrons will have access to McGraw-Hill Professional’s wide variety of titles to borrow and enjoy,” said George Coe, President and CEO of Baker & Taylor. “Baker & Taylor is dedicated to working with our publishing partners to offer libraries a robust selection of digital and printed materials for their patrons.”
Libraries have become more of a focal point for distance and digital education, especially in vocational and technical training, thanks to the growing presence of MOOCs and online accredited educational opportunities. Pilot programs are already in place to beta test distance education in public libraries, even at the secondary school level. Access like this to these titles through the Axis 360 e-reading platform can enhance the options and learning opportunities for a variety of underserved individuals.
Axis 360 makes digital reading possible in nearly any way that readers consume content, such as browser-based PCs, tablets and smartphones, or dedicated e-readers.
A new report, issued today by global publishing adviser Ixxus, aims to help academic publishers organize their move to a more digitally focused landscape. The sixteen-page whitepaper, called “Thinking Outside the Books: Reinventing Educational Publishing for the Digital Age” and accessible HERE, stems from ongoing relationships with some of the largest names in academic publishing, such as Pearson, Cambridge University Press, and Cengage Learning.
According to a statement by Steve Odart, CEO and co-founder of Ixxus, in a press release announcing the publication of the report, “This whitepaper visualizes some of the obstacles and challenges which educational publishers may find themselves facing in the transition towards digital. We’re seeing more and more companies moving towards digital-first strategies, but often they don’t realize that this means changing their entire organizational mind-set and thinking about content in a completely different way.”
Some of the most important data in the report addresses the speed with which digital publishing is having an impact on educational markets, the transition from creating whole textbooks to smaller content-based “chunks” of material, the impact of MOOCs on the digital textbook market, and more.
“The key factors which we see impacting on the digital textbook market and the educational publishing sector as a whole are the increasing speed of the move to digital as efficacy studies and technological advances enable take-up of suitable devices and solutions,’ said Kate Worlock, Lead Analyst for Education & Training at information analytics firm Outsell.
Academic publishers and educators alike have felt the frustration of having viable technology and device penetration available, but have faced slow adoption from some institutions, especially at the public school level.
Recorded Books started out in 1979, heavily investing themselves into the library space. They currently have a catalog of 13,500 audiobook titles that they market to libraries and retail customers. They also own a UK audiobook company which helps contribute further assets. Recently, the company was sold to Wasserstein & Co to help with the cash flow. Really, what this mean for the future of Zinio and Recorded Books?
Recorded Books helped digital magazine subscription service Zinio enter the library space. Zinio has really just focused on selling magazines directly to customers, but this is often a fickle business proposition. Recorded Books basically leveraged their existing base of library contacts to help market hundreds of magazines, in addition to their audiobooks and 100,000 eBooks, via the OneClickDigital platform.
The deal with Wasserstein was made to tap into a serious cashflow to help the company compete against Overdrive, 3M Cloud Library and Axis360. Recorded Books needed to refinance to expand their reach and help market their services. They sorely need it, as Overdrive has usurped their position in the marketplace by offering everything Recorded Books does, but providing a very slick UI and backend tools for libraries to manage and purchase collections.
In order for Recorded Books to be a viable business proposition going forward they will have to establish more relations with publishers to enhance their eBook catalog. During the last few months they got Random House as a partner and hope to woo the other publishers who deal with the competition. They also need to expand their distribution for movies and streaming video to market to libraries.
Recorded Books and key Zinio executives formed a relationship with IndieFlix, which is a subscription based video streaming service. It basically showcases documentaries and indie films, which is quite different from mainstream catalogs offered by Overdrive. Past and present employees of Zinio and Recorded Books sit on the board of directors at IndieFlix and hope to help their business grow and also get their videos into the Recorded Books platform.
Zinio is a company in a state of flux and the future looks uncertain. They used to do brisk business in the Apple App Store when the iPad originally came out. They remained in the top ten for a number of years until Apple launched their own Newsstand. Within a few years Amazon, Google, Apple, Rogers Media, Magzter and PressReader all started offering competitive digital magazine subscription platforms. Zinio has seen diminished market share because of this and now relies on Recorded Books to distribute their catalog of content to libraries and schools. In 2012, at the height of the downward trend, Zinio explored the option of selling itself, but decided to weather the storm.
Recorded Books in the near future will be able to offer libraries a very compelling package of content, that only Overdrive can match. They have audiobooks, eBooks and magazines. Video is the only thing they are missing, as well as a more intuitive set of tools that ties into libraries ILS systems. The much needed cash injection should keep them going into the near-future, but they really need to do some key things to stay profitable.
With so much focus on the plight of libraries, a number of options have been proposed for libraries to reinvent themselves in an effort to keep up with the changing face of book consumption in the digital era. Some library systems have gone so far as to establish 21st century models for libraries, including everything from computer terminals, classroom and meeting spaces, green energy community gardens, and more. Some reports even point to libraries that have literally zero physical books, opting for everything patrons consume to be digitized and shareable.
With articles like that of Christopher John Farley’s for the WallStreetJournal.com SepakEasy section that accurately asks if we even need libraries anymore, public perception of the dusty old print volumes stored Dewey Decimal-style in a “silence only” moldy building may be the norm for too many people. At the same time, a committee formed by Connecticut special law has now officially recommended that the state take almost no action at this time to boost digital lending in state libraries, recommending instead that they observe the digital publishing industry for now.
But as libraries work to reimagine their roles in communities and demonstrate their worth, perhaps it is the concept of library patrons that needs some clarification as well.
A Pew Internet report last year found that slightly more than half of respondents had visited a library or library website in the past year, down to 54% from 59% the year before. Yet, 90% of those same respondents stated that libraries are vital to the overall health of communities.
Which is it? Do consumers really want libraries in their communities that they don’t intend to use? And if so, why?
One possible explanation is the increasing awareness that libraries serve a very important role in maintaining the fabric of society, especially for underserved demographics of the population. It’s almost as if citizens liken libraries to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen; they adamantly agree that their towns should definitely have one, even if they themselves do not plan to ever need the services.
With more consumers building their own private libraries of digital books, music, movies, and audiobooks on their devices, the need to borrow someone else’s content may have diminished. Have most public library patrons become too wealthy to need a library? Or has the price of books and content come down to the point that it is easier, more convenient, and affordable enough for most people to just press the buy button instead of waiting to borrow a title?
If that’s actually the case, then consumers have demonstrated the real power of libraries, which is access to books, disruptive thought, and literacy for all of society. It’s astounding that voters would support libraries that they don’t intend to use, and speaks to the need and the desire to provide even more funding for these institutions to ensure that they can continue in the role that citizens have put them in, at least until ongoing efforts are successful to change the common perception of a library in the minds of its non-users.
The South Brunswick Public Library (SBPL) has teamed up with the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC) to offer free home delivery of reading materials to the residents of South Brunswick, New Jersey. The services include audio books and magazines, audiobook players, and Braille books. In addition, patrons also have the option to download audiobooks and magazines. The library also offers the BARD mobile app and news-reading services available 24/7. The audiobook players and audiobooks are made available by the Library of Congress.
“The Talking Book and Braille Center provides wonderful services for our patrons and residents throughout New Jersey who need assistive means to read,” said Chris Carbone, director of the SBPL. “South Brunswick librarians are on hand to help introduce those in need of these services to what TBBC can offer and help them connect to this very important partner in reading.”
The move to offer books right to the doorsteps at no extra cost will be of immense help to people with visual impairments or other forms of reading disabilities.
A massive digitization project involving the cooperation of two governments and the crusading efforts by several individual stakeholders led to the donation of the Hemingway Collection to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in 2008. This donation included digitized editions of papers that had been stored in the basement of Hemingway’s farm house in Cuba, papers that even included an alternate ending to one of the author’s greatest novels, For Whom the Bell Tolls. More on the Hemingway Collection can be found HERE.
Now, though, a second donation of digitized content has been made, this time decidedly less noteworthy. Scraps of paper, brochures from hardware the author was possibly considering purchasing, years of Christmas cards, and even some of his fourth wife’s recipes have all been scanned and salvaged for posterity. While this new collection does contain items of interest, like congratulatory telegrams from well-known people for Hemingway’s Nobel Prize, other pieces of data are nothing more than minutia taking up file space.
While it’s good to be able to preserve items that belonged to an important historical and literary figure, it does beg that question, “Is there such a thing as too much digitization?”
Given the virtual status of this data, the answer may at first appear to be “no.” What’s the harm in storing digital replicas of seemingly unimportant documents? After all, if they were important enough to the author to save–despite common sentiment that he was a hoarder–they may be worth storing now that the paper is unnecessary to the process.
On the other hand, the rampant need to digitize everything, especially where massive projects are underway to protect and share rare books and documents, may mean that more important items fall through the cracks while seventy year old bank statements undergo a rigorous restoration process. Elsewhere, rare books may be languishing in a different basement while Hemingway’s son’s homework is lovingly be preserved. Even if every worldwide book, document, and scrap of nostalgia could be digitized, the burden of storage and protection still falls to the recipient.
For now, it would seem like the best course of action may be to save as much as possible, then sort out the storage of the content later. Documents are at this very moment languishing in less than ideal conditions, and may be lost without digital protection. The multiple pages of blank Hemingway stationery that were meticulously scanned in the project can always be deleted later.
With libraries around the world coming under almost as much threat of demise as brick-and-mortar bookstores, one UK library system is taking legal action to fight back against proposed budget cuts in their county that will mean the planned closing of a number of local public libraries.
According to an article in The Bookseller, the library system in Lincolnshire has mounted a legal campaign with the help of public interest attorneys to overturn their council’s decision to make sweeping cuts to library spending, a decision that the campaign founders state was made without attempting to look for alternatives and is in violation of UK law regarding library access.
The Public Interest Lawyers association has filed a review with a London court at the request of resident Simon Draper, and together the attorneys will work to have a court overturn the budget decisions from the local council. This decision has allowed for the closing or loss of all but fifteen libraries in the county, and the attorneys have stated that the decision violates two public interest laws, the Equity Act 2010 and the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.
While this action is limited to Lincolnshire for the time being, the implications of the legal proceedings could have farther reaching, global repercussions. Libraries are currently fighting to stay relevant in the digital reading age, and even libraries that are already taking digital action with innovations such as ebook lending, technology renovations, and MOOCs are struggling to demonstrate to stakeholders that they serve a vital function in the community. The outcome of this campaign could mean more councils around the world feel confident in making financial decisions that attack the existence of libraries, or could mean that councils don’t want to take the risk on libraries fighting back in court and winning. However the proceedings end, it is all money that could have been better spent on keeping libraries open to the public.
Overdrive Read is an innovative program that sees a single eBook become available for libraries to loan out an infinite amount of times. This is a stark contrast to the normal practice to the one title, one loan mentality. Obviously there is some very compelling aspects of the Reader program, but librarians are beginning to feel ambushed to the short notice of titles becoming available.
Starting February 17th, until March 5th, Food Network and Cooking Channel star Aida Mollenkamp has provided her culinary guide Keys to the Kitchen to libraries that do business with Overdrive. Overdrive gave libraries one week notice via email on the logistics of digitally distributing it to their patrons.
Overdrive has always gave the libraries one single week notice before the start of the program. A fair number are becoming quite vocal about the short notice and their inability to develop internal marketing material to properly promote it. Many librarians all over the USA talked to Good e-Reader at various American Library Association events. Most of them liked the spirit of the program, but were not actively participating due to the one week notice. It simply was not enough time to make flyers or posters, or educate the public on what it is all about.
Kristin Schultz commented “Is there ANY way you can give us more notice than 2 weeks? This is the third time for the Big Library Read and every time it’s like I’m ambushed. Why cannot we have more advance notice for promotion?” Meanwhile, Julie Bauer weighed in “I’d like to echo what Kristin is saying – there is very little time for us to plan anything around Big Library Read (even with that extra week). A couple of months’ notice would be more like it.”
Overdrive should be giving libraries over a months notice before the advent of any Read program. One week, is way too short and going forward, my recommendation is distribute a content calendar of titles coming out later in the year and forwarding them to libraries.
With the Cairo Book Fair wrapping up this week–amidst controversy, as journalists were arrested for possessing cameras and video equipment to cover the event–one exciting launch took place with critical support from Vodafone Egypt. The first dedicated Arab ebookstore, Kotobi.com, launched from their stage at the fair, bringing several hundred Arab titles from nearly forty publishers to digital devices.
According to the Kotobi website (translated), “Statistics show that readership levels in the Arab World are significantly lower than those among other world populations. And because we believe that reading is a key ingredient for the development of any nation, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to play a role in supporting the Arabic reading ecosystem to the benefit of raising readership levels in the Arabic language.”
A number of concerned stakeholders from throughout the Arab nations joined Vodafone Egypt to bring the ebookstore to fruition, with many seeing this initiative as a way to combat the alarming illiteracy rates mentioned on the site. More importantly, Kotobi goes on to hint at a possible self-publishing platform, going so far as to mention the “barriers to publication” that keep authors, publishers, and readers from thriving through book development.
“Kotobi’s digital technology removes the barriers to publishing for authors and publishers alike; and creates an innovative avenue for readers to access the biggest variety of Arabic publications at the convenience of their home: no need to travel a distance to find the nearest bookshop; and no need to wait until the next print of a book is out; and best of all, you can buy through your credit card anywhere in the world, or through your mobile phone in Egypt. And as you buy your collection of books, you needn’t worry about carrying it around, because Kotobi’s mobile app allows you to walk around with your library: all on your mobile phone or tablet.”
So far, Kotobi offers ebooks, periodicals, and a wide variety of free titles, including translations of well-known classics from foreign authors like Aldous Huxley and Charles Dickens.