After years of expressing concern about the potential impact that library lending might have on consumer sales, major publishers have good cause to take another look at the library market for ebooks, according to executives from library ebook distributors OverDrive, 3M, and Baker & Taylor. With consumer sales growth slowing, bolstering institutional sales will likely become more of a priority for major publishers. OverDrive CEO Steve Potash noted that publishers, like all for-profit companies, are always looking for growth, and “there’s still a lot a growth in institutions, and there [are] significant opportunities for growth in education…. If retail is flattening, you have to experiment.”
Every American Library Association (ALA) conference produces a bumper crop of news from the companies that serve libraryland, as each tends to time its biggest debuts to the event, and this year was no exception. Here’s an assortment of what we learned on the exhibit floor. Did we miss your news? Please add it in the comments!
The first SELF-e collection of self-published titles chosen by LJ and hosted by BiblioLab’s BiblioBoard releases this month, in time for the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference. On the occasion, LJ caught up with Mitchell Davis, chief business officer of BiblioLabs, to hear how this collaboration originated and where both SELF-e and BiblioBoard are headed.
hoopla digital, the streaming media service for libraries developed by Midwest Tape, announced the addition of ebooks and comics to its platform. The initial selection features thousands of titles from publishers including IDW, RosettaBooks, Chicago Review Press, Dundurn Press, and Tyndale House, which will join hoopla’s catalog of more than 300,000 streaming movies, television shows, music albums, and audiobooks.
The University of Minnesota Press and the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) in April were awarded a $732,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch Manifold Scholarship, a new platform that will enable the publication of iterative, networked, electronic versions of scholarly monographs alongside the print edition of the book.
ProQuest today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Coutts Information Services from Ingram Content Group, including the MyiLibrary platform and the Online Acquisitions and Selection Information System (OASIS). In addition to augmenting ProQuest’s selection of ebooks with MyiLibrary’s 250,000 titles, a larger plan involves leveraging Coutts’ collection-building expertise, approval support, and ordering tools to begin developing a fully integrated service that streamlines the acquisition and fulfillment of print and electronic content together.
Over 650 attendees from 42 states and five countries gathered for this year’s ER&L conference, with hundreds more viewing more than 60 hours of livestreamed and archived sessions online. This year’s conference also included a new, two-day “Designing for Digital” user experience (UX) event, which ER&L plans to make a regular component of the conference going forward. As usual, the days were packed with panels and presentations on e-resources, with topics ranging from organizational strategies and working with vendors to sessions on troubleshooting and technical maintenance. Here are highlights from some of the sessions that LJ was able to attend.
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.
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.
Officials at Amazon believe subscription-based ebook consumption is an inevitability, and will continue to invest in and build the company’s Kindle Unlimited service as part of an effort to stay ahead of the emerging trend, Russ Grandinetti, senior VP, Kindle, at Amazon explained during a candid general session interview on January 14 at the Digital Book World Conference and Expo 2015. In a separate panel, publishers expressed enthusiasm for Oyster and Scribd as discovery platforms.