The 3M Cloud Library system is going out of business and has just been sold to One Equity. The service will be rebranded in early 2016 and over 100 existing staff will be offered the opportunity to work for the new company.
3M has been generating over $100 million per year selling digital content to libraries such as audiobooks and e-books. One of the big priorities with 3M over the course of 2015 has been growing their catalog. The company currently has 587,562 e-books, which is up from 419,358 in 2014. Jake Klem from the 3M Traffic Safety and Security Division told me last week that in Canada and the United States they have 293 cloud library systems active today compared to 217 in 2014.
The former 3M brand, including all digital content and self-serve kiosks will be absorbed by Bibliotheca, which was formed in the spring of 2011 when three leading independent companies of Bibliotheca (Switzerland), Intellident (UK) and Integrated Technology Group, ITG (North America) merged to create a single, global entity. Bibliotheca is financially backed by One Equity Partners, a division of JP Morgan Chase & Co. The formation of this Group creates the world’s largest company dedicated to the development, deployment and support of RFID-based solutions, with particular focus on public, private and academic library markets.
One Equity Partner Jörg Zirener welcomed the new technological additions by saying “3M’s Library Systems will allow us to deepen our presence in the education and library sector and broaden our product offerings in end-to-end automation solutions for public, private and academic libraries,” he said. “OEP is committed to investing in and growing this business, so that the industry will continue to benefit from it presence and innovation in the library market.”
It looks like the staff transferring from 3M to Bibliotheca won’t have far to go for their new jobs. 3M confirmed to Good e-Reader that Bibliotheca is opening a North American headquarters in the Twin Cities.
The big question is what happens to to the libraries that currently deal with the 3M Cloud Library? Tom Mercer, the Marketing Manager told me that “All of our customers will still work with 3M to ensure a smooth transition. No one will be left hanging, and customer can continue to buy books on the platform and should expect the service levels to remain the same.”
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.