3M officially launched their Cloud Library service and discovery terminals today. This service is seeking to compete with Overdrive to give library patrons a viable solution to their digital books. 3M had been beta testing their new platform for the last six months with the Kansas Digital Library Consortium and the St Paul Public Library.
The essence of this new service is providing a digital content distribution system for libraries and hardware to facilitate the lending process. The company installs touchscreen Discovery Terminals in the libraries it does business with. You can then interact with the entire library database of books and check them out to your Android or iOS device. 3M is also providing dedicated e-readers to be loaned out in addition to the books. Normally you can borrow ten books at a time and put a hold on ten additional books.
3M has secured many of the industries top publishers to launch their service and this means close to 100,000 books will be available. Random House, Harper Collins, Harlequin, Baker, Wiley, Kensington and Sourcebooks will be offering their digital collections for loan.
Many libraries will love this solution because customers mostly do everything themselves. Overdrive warrants trained staff that know how to handle the content loading on your device and troubleshooting common problems. The 3M Discovery Terminal is bright and easy to use. With a simple touchscreen interface you create your account and use it to borrow books. Once the book is borrowed it is sent to any of your devices. If you borrow an e-reader from the library all content you borrow will be synced.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.