Here’s our idea: libraries need to learn how to manage several emerging channels of digital content. We’re doing that in Colorado. At this site, you’ll find all the tools and aids we developed to help ourselves. Everything we have — from legal framework to information architecture to the list of our publishing partners to the open source code that makes it all work — is freely offered to the library community. We firmly believe that this is the most exciting time in the history of our profession. We also believe that librarians should be significant players in this revolution. Worth reading: Colorado’s eBook Manifesto, a document produced to orient you to our state’s ebook environment. Continue reading
Posted on behalf of Jamie LaRue, Project Director, Evoke 2.0
This is an update on the state of Evoke 2.0.
First, a reminder: this is technology demonstration grant, funded by Colorado’s LSTA money. The goal was to put together an ALPHA (e.g. “preliminary, proof-of-concept”) product. As time goes on, it’s common for people to add a list of features and promises that were never made or discussed at the beginning of a project. So this is a bit of a memory and reality-check.
Let’s review what the grant promised:
- an acquisition system for ebook content;
- a discovery layer (a search front end);
- a circulation system that works with Douglas County Libraries’ Sirsi Dynix Horizon system, AspenCat, and Marmot;
- loan agreements with up to 20 publishers, mainly NOT the Big Five (RandomHouse/Penguin, Hachette, Simon and Schuster, Macmillan, and HarperCollins);
- and a test library of materials purchased from those publishers (within $10,000).
Here’s where we are:
- acquisition system is up and running
- discovery layer is running
- the circulation system works
- consortial loan agreements are in place for several significant publishers (among them Britannica, Poisoned Pen and Workman).
- Monique estimates that we’re at about 70-80% of the functionality we were shooting for. You can see for yourself at http://www.evokecolorado.org/ – a live demo of the tests. We haven’t added any real content (beyond some public domain titles) at present. But they’re coming.
- Preliminary Application Program Interfaces (APIs) with DCL, AspenCat and Marmot. This is the piece that will integrate the ebook platform with the rest of these ILSs. We don’t anticipate that DCL and Marmot will be particularly difficult. The contract programmers for AspenCat, we have learned, have a lot of other software projects on their list, and that may delay the final product. Stay tuned. But the project has provided the APIs to our partners.
What is NOT done?
- final fit and polish. Monique and her programmers are working on a series of tweaks and tests.
On the whole, however, the project and product are taking shape well within our timelines.
- Jamie LaRue, Project Director, Evoke 2.0
Submitted on behalf of Gene Hainer, Colorado State Library
An eBook guide has been released by ReadersFirst, a coalition of 290 libraries whose aim is to “give librarians the knowledge to be more effective e-book providers.” The content is to help those new to the eBook arena understand the vendors, players, terminology, and options. It includes a sample eBook review template for assessing vendor products, glossary, and reader stories.
Originally released 11/21/13 by Douglas County Libraries.
Douglas County Libraries (DCL) and partner the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) were recently awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant of $209,460 for their project proposal, “eVoke 2.0: Colorado Statewide eBook Pilot Project.”
The project team, consisting of staff from DCL and CLiC, felt that the ever-increasing use of e-books and e-readers demands that libraries become strong players in digital content delivery to remain vital and relevant to the communities they serve.
From 2011 to 2012, the percentage of Americans who owned an e-book reader leapt from 18 to 33 percent, up from 6 percent in 2010. (Governing Magazine, July 2013, “Can Libraries Survive the eBook Revolution”). According to Forrester, the projected number of e-book readers will increase exponentially from 3.7 million adults in 2009 to a predicted 59.6 million in 2015. At the same time, e-book spending will reach a record high of nearly three billion dollars (Forrester – Research eReader Forecast, 2010-2015).
Douglas County Libraries director Jamie LaRue states, “With the knowledge of these findings and predictions, it is urgent for libraries to be forward thinkers and leaders in the e-content digital world.” Jim Duncan, CLiC executive director adds, “Library districts, and rural libraries in particular, lack the funds, personnel or expertise to innovate for this future or to build and maintain an infrastructure that will enable the acquisition and delivery of e-books. So in order to assist libraries throughout our state and hopefully globally, we felt now was the time to proactively face this challenge and find a solution for all libraries.”
The goal of the eVoke project is to develop an alpha stage end-to-end cloud e-content infrastructure that can provide digital content purchasing and lending capabilities to all Colorado libraries. By the end of the grant project phase in October 2014, the alpha stage e-content management platform will meet a list of eight functional requirements as set and tested by the eVoke Advisory Committee (which includes representatives from the Colorado State Library, CLiC, Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, DCL and Marmot Library Network). This list includes milestones such as allowing library users to search and access e-content alongside physical content, see real-time availability, and download titles from within library catalogs. The project team hopes to demonstrate a compelling e-content delivery alternative to what exists today and build the foundation for a more sustainable system that enables all Colorado libraries (including more than 80 rural and multi-type libraries) new and exciting delivery options. The new system will also allow libraries to purchase e-content through a comprehensive acquisition system, and present e-content to the public through a user-friendly interface.
The project team, led by project manager Monique Sendze, associate director of information technology at DCL, has already begun work on this exciting project. The team will post regular project updates at www.evokecolorado.info. Sendze encourages interested members of the community to visit the project website, “and share in our enthusiasm as we work on this exciting and innovative library project.”
The Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) connects 400+ libraries to better serve Colorado residents. Core services include operation of the statewide library courier, cooperative purchasing for a variety of products and services, delivery of continuing education events and in-the-field consulting, and AspenCat, a union catalog serving nearly 50 libraries. Learn more at http://clicweb.org.
Douglas County Libraries is a passionate advocate for literacy and lifelong learning. It checks out more than 8 million physical and digital materials annually. Seven locations offer wifi, research resources, Storytimes, public meeting spaces and interesting programs and events for all ages.
“This program was funded in part with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which administers the Library Services and Technology Act.
“The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.
- Submitted by Jamie LaRue
Two things jump out at me this time. From September of last year to this report, we’ve gone from 30% availability of titles to 80%. That is most definitely the result of the good work of ALA.
But the other two areas: price and ownership, remain dismal. The average price is around $45-50 per title, and we don’t own any of them.
View the Latest Douglas County Libraries Pricing Comparison Report.
See a summary of Publisher sales to libraries in this previous Evoke post. Read a summary of ALAs work over the last two years and their plans for the future as presented in the recent (10/23/14) ALA Virtual Town Hall on EBooks: ALA Moves Forward in Ebook Arena.
- Submitted by Jamie LaRue, Douglas County Libraries
Dear Colorado library colleague:
This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers!) to keep the community apprised of progress with the LSTA grant recently awarded for a statewide ebook solution.
A majority of public libraries in the state endorsed the project, for which we are thankful. Clearly, the existing solutions to ebook management have proven difficult, costly, and incomplete. We believe our project will provide more affordable and forward-thinking support for the library mission.
What is the name of the project? We’re calling it eVoke 2.0 — the second incarnation of Colorado efforts to solve library ebook issues.
Where can I track news and updates about the project? Shortly, we’ll be launching a new website, eVokeColorado.info, which will be the place to find updates on progress. We will also post links from the first evoke.cvlsites.org site, where we mostly detailed news about Marmot and DCL’s experiments (eVoke 1.0), and related news feeds from the rest of the world.
How much was the grant? The Colorado State Library granted $209,460 to create a prototype ebook management system scalable to the whole state of Colorado.
What are the goals of the grant? There are five broad aims:
- to host ebook content for the state. In the short run (due to Big Five publisher demands), there will continue to be externally hosted solutions (OverDrive, 3M, Baker and Taylor, etc.). There are problems with the existing solutions: lack of ownership, high costs, and lack of integration are key among them. But there is also a lot of emerging content — midlist and independent presses, self-published titles, and library generated content — that is not available through any of the current channels, and represents a growing percentage of what’s being published (roughly twice the output of commercial presses). One goal of eVoke 2.0 is to create a statewide “opening day collection” representative of this new content, available from servers we own and operate. Eventually, it may also include Big Five content as well.
- to develop an econtent management module. This software development effort will allow for the purchasing, cataloging, discovery, and circulation of the hosted ebooks.
- to develop APIs (application program interfaces) allowing this econtent management module to talk to external Integrated Library Systems. In other words, even if your current computer catalog doesn’t know how to manage ebooks, the project will create “hooks” that would enable your vendor to do that (by talking to our system). To the patron, ebooks would simply be another choice in the library catalog, and “delivery” would be roughly comparable to any other checkout process.
- to demonstrate all of the above with three existing ILSs that encompass many of the state’s digital catalogs: AspenCat (the Koha/Liblime system that includes many rural library members), Marmot (the Sierra/Vufind system of the consortium, serving mostly the Western Slope, but spreading), and Douglas County Libraries (a Sirsi/Dynix Horizon system, one of the more popular ILSs in the nation).
- to create a sustainable model for Colorado libraries going forward. Over the course of the project, we will develop a business, pricing, and policy model that will clearly identify ongoing costs, and define a membership or subscription fee that will allow the project to expand to include all interested Colorado libraries.
Who is running the project? The grant was applied for and awarded to the Douglas County Libraries. Under Project Manager Monique Sendze (Associate Director of IT at Douglas County Libraries), the project team includes program developers yet to be hired, Karen Gargan ( Associate Director of Finance), Rochelle Logan (Associate Director of Support Services), Amber DeBerry (Associate Director of Community Relations), and Elaine McCain (who authored the grant). Also on the Project Team is our Fiscal Agent, Jim Duncan, Executive Director of the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC). Jamie LaRue will serve as Project Director.
Who is advising the project? In addition to the project team, an advisory committee will include Gene Hainer and Dan Lawrence of the State Library, Jimmy Thomas (Executive Director of Marmot), and Jaclyn Kuusinin, Chair of the Marmot ebook Task Force. Jim Duncan will also be representing a score of rural libraries under AspenCat. Other members of the advisory committee include previously sitting members of the eVoke group: George Machovec (Director of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries) and Daniel Cordova (Director of the Supreme Court Library).
Why aren’t there any school librarians? The focus of eVoke 2.0 is primarily on public libraries, although the prototype will also be available to members of the school, academic and special library members of AspenCat and Marmot. There has been some publisher resistance to consortial models, so it makes sense to concentrate on and iron out the problems of one market segment at a time.
How will libraries – especially from rural and low budget areas – be involved once the project is complete? They, and their patrons, would now have access to this new content either through interlibrary loan, or through direct buying and loaning their own content. But remember that this is an alpha or prototype system. First we have to build and test the infrastructure before we expand it to embrace all libraries.
What fees would be charged? Ongoing charges won’t be assessed until we determine the operational costs of the system. There are four categories of costs: overhead (the actual fees for telecommunications, storage, etc.), platform fees (typically a one-time set-up fee for an institution), transaction fees (a cost per circulation), and a discount on the title itself. Right now, OverDrive and 3M make their money on the content mark-up. While we don’t know the precise final mix, we’re confident that ebooks can and should be considerably cheaper for libraries than they are now. We will consult with our colleagues along the way.
How will we know what’s going on in the meantime? As project milestones are reached, we will post information linking to the project website. Again, that link will be eVokeColorado.info.
Check out this article from early October in Forbes that points to self-publishing as a disruptive, yet beneficial force to the publishing industry in 2012. While U.S. sales profits were down overall on print books, the rapid increase in eBook sales kept profits flat. Publishers are figuring out how to take advantage of discount eBook pricing to sell more titles overall. It seems, they are also teasing their way into direct-to-consumer sales by leveraging their strongest brands.
Is Publishing Still Broken? The Surprising Year In Books, Forbes 10/4/2013
“An increase in sales on flat revenue means one thing: lower pricing. While print book sales from traditional publishers did decline, eBook sales dramatically increased. The spike in eBook sales kept overall revenue flat and sales volume was up by nearly 200 million books. <snip>> … This doesn’t tell the whole story, of course. An increase in sales on flat revenue means one thing: lower pricing. While print book sales from traditional publishers did decline, eBook sales dramatically increased. The spike in eBook sales kept overall revenue flat and sales volume was up by nearly 200 million books.”
Any thoughts on what the implications are to libraries?
There have been some interesting changes as of late. It seems like a good time for a summary of the Big 5 (=6-1 since the July 1, 2013 Penguin Random House merger) and their willingness to sell eBooks to Libraries.
- Hachette – As of May 2013, are selling all titles on the big 3 platforms (OverDrive, B&T Axis360, and 3M Cloud Library) but have a 2-tier pricing model. New titles will be 3 times the print cover price and after 1 year prices will be 1.5 times the price of the highest edition currently in print. Source.
- Harper Collins – Still no provisions for permanent ownership as they are sticking to the 26 circulations per “purchase” model. Available on all 3 platforms. Prices are generally a bit higher than consumer pricing. Source: Sari Feldman presentation to the ALA Virtual Town Hall on Ebooks, 10/23/2013.
- MacMillan – As of October 2013, making all 11,000+ titles in their backlist (over a year old) available for a 2-year or 52 circulations (whichever comes first) license term. On all 3 platforms, plus Recorded Books. Prices will stay high at $25 per title, even for older content. Source.
- Penguin (Penguin Random House) – As of September 2013, despite the merger with Random House, will maintain separate contractual terms. All eBooks will be available via all 3 vendor platforms, except via Kindle on Overdrive. Prices are supposed to be set at consumer market price but limited to a 1-year licensing term. Source.
Random House (Penguin Random House) – Since February 2012, are selling all titles and allow a purchase/perpetual license. Available on all 3 platforms plus Ingram. The pricing is typically multiple times higher than the consumer price. Source.
- Simon & Schuster – As of April 2013, running a testing pilot to make ebooks available to 3 library systems in NYC via the 3M and B&T platforms. Books will be available for purchase (even if not checked out) and libraries are getting a 1 year licensing term before having to re-purchase. Source.
Overall, prices are decreasing. There are no discounts for bulk purchasing. Each publisher has only one pricing model, and they are all different. (Summary comments made by Sari Feldman at the ALA Virtual Town Hall on Ebooks)
According to this article shared by Jim Duncan eReader/tablet ownership, eBook demand, reading, and sharing book recommendations are all up.
“Technology is changing the way Americans read, and those under 40 are leading the way.”
Read the rest of the article at USA Today.
As of October 2013 we are aware of 32 libraries and organizations across the U.S. and beyond (a net increase of eight compared to September 2012) considering the technology and organizational model for e-books implemented by DCL, a.k.a. the DCL Model.
For the complete list, please see this page.
Thanks to Jimmy Thomas of the Marmot Library Network for the update.