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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

Further thoughts regarding the E-book comparison spreadsheet for August, 2014

Submitted by Jamie LaRue, LaRue & Associates

As my colleagues at Douglas County Libraries have called to my attention, the DCL report has thus far mostly illuminated the difference between what libraries and consumers pay for ebooks. As this report, again, alas, makes clear, that staggering inequity continues.

But now let’s look at what’s happening with print. Once, we could rely upon a 40-45% discount on the consumer retail price.

One of the most powerful economic arguments on behalf of libraries is that we are, or were, a demonstrably effective cooperative purchasing agreement. Volume purchases deserve volume discounts. Of course, the purchasing power of Amazon now dwarfs that of even the Big Five publishers. Let me say that again: the gorilla in the room is NOT the Big Five. It is Amazon. Amazon’s presence and power is just as disruptive with print as it has been with ebooks.

So now, supply chains on both sides of the collection development spreadsheet – print and digital – seem dated and dim. For us, anyhow.

Vendors, it’s time to step up your game. If libraries can’t make the economic case for our business model, how can you?

Amazon to Launch New eBook Subscription Service Called Kindle Unlimited

“Details are still vague, but at this point I know that about 6 hours ago several authors noticed that there was a new page in the Kindle Store. That page was shortly taken down, but while it was up it was titled Kindle Unlimited, and it offered readers access to a catalog of 600,000 ebook and audiobook titles for $9.99.”

Read the full article here.

Amazon Unlimited

Read the article posted to American Libraries on July 14th, by Jamie LaRue

The disruption continues, and it’s hard not to see the announcement of the new Kindle Unlimited Service as a significant challenge to libraries.
Let’s review how things stand with libraries right now. Most public library budgets took a hit during the recession, meaning they had less money to provide new content. At the same time, some of our patrons developed a preference for ebooks over print. Meanwhile, the Big Five publishers and ebook distributors together jacked up the price of new ebooks by as much as nine times, or restricted their use in various ways, while still preserving the legacy model of one user at a time. That, in turn forces libraries to buy multiple copies, and forces patron to wait—often for months—for popular titles.
Bottom line: that’s a setup that strikes at the public libraries’ primary business—loaning new materials. Still, few libraries in the United States assess taxes of as much as $100 a year per household. So if you read a lot, a library still saves you money, even if most library checkout systems are not only expensive, but cumbersome to use.
Now consider the Amazon alternative. Consumers can sign up for $9.99 a month, and immediately have instant access to over 600,000 titles, including many bestsellers. Right now, it appears that the Big Five holdings aren’t available through this channel. But if the interface is as simple as “Buy Now with 1-click,” I’m guessing that many readers will jump the library ship. It’s still not clear how many authors will find this new service of interest.
On the one hand, providing hot new books in preferred formats isn’t the only thing we do, and this won’t affect services such as children’s storytime attendance, public access to computers and Wi-Fi, the need for community meeting space, and so on.
On the other, none of those services is as intensively used and associated with our brand as content. And with more and more power in the marketplace, the future of Amazon appears unlimited.

Next Generation Tech Solutions Could Help Readers and Librarians

Check out this recent article by Roxanna Asgarian from the Digital Shift.

It wasn’t too long ago that people thought reading books on a computer could never replace the real, ink-and-paper feel of a good old-fashioned book. And while people continue to appreciate books in their traditional form, sales of Amazon’s Kindles topped $4.5 billion last year, according to research by Morgan Stanley. More telling, though, is how normal it seems to read a book on an electronic device. But scientists and developers haven’t stopped there. New technology continues to challenge our notions of what we read, how we read, and who has access to reading.

Researchers at Stony Brook University (SBU), NY, have developed a program that they say can predict future best-selling books, by tracking similarities in style, word choice, and sentence structure that have been shown to exist among books that are already best sellers. They say they’ve achieved an 84 percent success rate when applying their program to already published books.

Intrigued?  For the full article , click here.