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.

Connecticut to Build a Statewide Ebook Delivery Platform

Submitted for Jamie LaRue, CEO LaRue and Associates

Back in January of this year, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection published a report about how the state’s public libraries could gain fairer access to ebooks.

Among that report’s conclusions: “The most forward-thinking and sustainable option the legislature could pursue to increase ebook availability at public libraries is to make a significant statewide investment in the creation of an ebook distribution platform that could be shared by libraries in the state.”

Read the full article at:

Statewide Public Library e-book Programs

Submitted by Jamie LaRue, from Charlie Parker of TBLC

Here is a quick and dirty list of statewide public library e-book programs including links to some recent articles (thanks to Gary Price at infoDOCKET).

Statewide Public Library E-Book Projects

June 13, 2014







  • Digital Book eLending -The Kansas State Library has a 3M Cloud Library collection and participates in Enki, the California service




North Carolina 




DCL eBook Price Comparison Report – June 2014

Submitted by Rochelle Logan, Douglas County Libraries

Here is the DCL Pricing Comparison for June 2014.  Below are Kathy Thomas’ notes on this month’s list.

A couple of things with the comparison:

  • There were two different ‘Fault in our Stars’ on the list of Top 20 Amazon books; one was a paper version, the other a hardcover version.  It is on the list twice but the information appears once.
  • Game of Thrones box set for Amazon and Barnes & Noble is the five book set, but overdrive and 3M only have the four book set available.  Since the pricing was high for the 4 book set, I elected to use that pricing instead of no pricing.
  • We have not yet received (or been invoiced) our books for ‘Written in My Own Heart’s Blood’ which releases on 6/10.  Because of this, Ingram doesn’t have a cost but B&T does on the spreadsheet.
  • There were a couple of books that aren’t library type materials but were on the list of Top 20 Amazon books, so there is no information for these items.

DCL eBook Price Comparison Report – April 2014

Submitted by Rochelle Logan, Douglas County Libraries

For this pricing report, we pulled the bestseller list from Digital Book World. The blog post on DBW about their bestsellers brings up an interesting point. Self-published works don’t always make it onto these types of lists even when they are wildly successful if they do not have an ISBN. “Our system requires an ebook have an ISBN in order to link it across retailers. Many self-published books don’t have an ISBN and will be invisible to our process.”