In a long-expected move, Amazon on July 18 announced the launch of Kindle Unlimited, a new subscription service that will give users unlimited access to a selection of 600,000 ebooks and more than 2,000 audiobooks on Amazon Kindle devices and any device with a Kindle app for $9.99 per month. The online retailer’s financial resources, marketing clout, and massive base of Kindle users alter the competitive landscape for all providers of ebooks, including libraries.
Upon the announcement of Amazon’s ebook subscription program Kindle Unlimited, Gary Price, INFOdocket editor, writes “Are libraries ready to compete with these services?”
The U.S. Navy General Library Program (NGLP) last month announced the release of its new Navy e-Reader Device (NeRD), which comes preloaded with 300 titles including popular fiction, recent bestsellers, and content from the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program. The new e-ink readers were designed by preloaded digital content provider Findaway World (perhaps best known in the library world for its Playaway) and are the first devices to feature Findaway’s new “Lock” ereader security solution.
When ebooks or other digital materials are not readily available in libraries, publishers “are missing a key conduit to a market that [they] can’t tap any other way,” Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director for Library Journal and School Library Journal, stated in her opening remarks for the “The Untapped Retail Channel: Public Libraries” panel on Friday, May 30 at the 2014 BookExpo America (BEA) conference in New York. Leaders from top library ebook and streaming media companies weighed in on this issue during an hour-long discussion.
After complaints from patrons about the lack of access to ebooks in libraries across the state, Connecticut lawmakers have passed a bill giving the state library’s board of trustees authority to create a state-wide ebook collection, accessible by anyone with a Connecticut library card.
Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of self-published ebooks, on May 20 announced a new partnership with OverDrive that will make more than 200,000 ebooks from 80,000 self-published authors and independent presses available to libraries and their patrons via the OverDrive platform. All titles will be sold as perpetual, non-expiring licenses with no loan caps, and will be made available to patrons under a one ebook, one user model.
Managing e-resources, developing collections, evaluating user behavior, and making e-content accessible is equal parts challenge and opportunity. This free LJ webcast, developed by Electronic Resources and Libraries (ER&L), offers attendees a brief look at user’s expectations, how e-content is presented to our users, what we need from our vendor partners to make e-content accessible, and tools to better analyze our user data.Archive is now available!
In recognition of National Library Week, Total Boox, the “pay-as-you-read” metered ebook platform, will make its entire collection of more than 20,000 titles free to read from April 13 through April 20. The week-long promotion will allow anyone with an Android, Apple iOS, or Kindle Fire tablet to download the free Total Boox ereader app at www.totalboox.com/freereading and access fiction and nonfiction ebooks.
Librarians continue to cite the lack of access to ebook best sellers and other “in-demand” titles as the number one problem preventing patrons from checking out more ebooks, but usability issues are a close second, according to “Ebook Usage in U.S. Public Libraries 2013,” a survey of 553 public libraries conducted by LJ and sponsored by Freading.