Leading library ebook distributor OverDrive was sold to Rakuten on March 19 for $410 million cash, more than 16 times OverDrive’s annual earnings of $25 million. The purchase from private equity firm Insight Venture Partners, OverDrive’s majority owner since 2010, is scheduled to close in April. OverDrive will become a subsidiary of Rakuten USA, the U.S. arm of Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. CEO Steve Potash will continue to lead OverDrive, and its headquarters will remain in Cleveland, OH.
Five experts discussed the latest in library tech during the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) Top Technology Trends panel at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter 2015 conference in Chicago. In front of a full house despite the snowstorm outside, the lively discussion of trends ranged from coding classes for girls to the growing infrastructure demands of open access publishing.
Ryan Cordell, Northeastern University (NU), Boston, and his colleagues are studying how information went “viral” in 19th-century America, when newspapers and periodicals published short works of fiction, poetry, and other prose. Before modern copyright law, it was common for editors to reprint these texts, originally published elsewhere. The texts moved around the country through this network, resulting in a shared print culture. Cordell’s research seeks to identify these shared texts, to examine which were reprinted and why, and to map how they traveled and changed as they passed from publication to publication.
After three columns in a row about the ebook situation for libraries, I thought I was finished with the discussion, but then I got an email from an ebook vendor. He pointed out that his ebook publishing platform did all the things I had said I wanted from library ebooks, and asked, very politely, why, then, hadn’t my library bought any of them? Here is my answer. It probably doesn’t apply to every library, but it applies to some of them, especially some of the larger ones.
Paul Gazzolo joined library resource vendor Gale, part of Cengage Learning, as senior vice president and general manager this November. He will be leading Gale’s strategy, product development, sales, and marketing teams, working closely with Gale’s partner libraries. Before moving to Gale, Gazzolo was general manager of research and learning at Wolters Kluwer CCH tax and accounting service. Prior to that position he served as president of World Book, where he successfully transitioned the well-known encyclopedia into a digital presence.
The State Library of Kansas this month has soft launched a partnership with Total BooX, the pay-as-you-read metered ebook platform, building on a statewide digital lending program that offers library patrons access to the 3M Cloud Library, Freading, Enki, OneClickdigital Audiobooks, TumbleBooks, BookFlix, and Britannica E-STAX. “We’re pretty committed to finding different [ebook] models, and […]
In what at first looked to be a decisive move in the direction of open access (OA), Nature Publishing Group announced December 2 that it would officially adopt two initiatives that would provide access to articles previously available exclusively by subscription. But the new features come with restrictions that many see as a nod to OA in name only, and Nature News quickly corrected its initial headline, which read “Nature Makes All Articles Free to View”—but not before it was picked up by a number of news and social media outlets.
Amazon and Hachette Book Group have ended the pricing dispute that the two have been waging since spring of 2014. On November 13 they jointly announced a multiyear agreement for ebook and print sales. The new terms will go into effect in early 2015, but Hachette has said that even before that time Amazon will restore its previous supply of Hachette titles and make them available for pre-order, as well as including them in promotions on the site.
The Charleston Conference felt bigger than ever this year, with multiple attendees in the halls and elevators commenting on the profusion of programs at multiple venues, the standing room only grounds for popular breakout sessions, and the fact that they could no longer count on seeing everyone they know among the other attendees in the course of the conference. It is equally impossible to see even a fraction of the many compelling programs presented during the event; below is only our impression from the handful we could personally attend.