March 29, 2015

Kobo Parent Acquires OverDrive

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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.

Official Statement and CEO Letter: OverDrive Sold to Rakuten For $410 Million in Cash

OverDrive was sold to Rakuten, a Japanese company today for $410 million. It’s a cash deal and is scheduled to close next month (April 2015). Overdrive will be part of Rakuten USA. Rakuten is an e-commerce company headquartered in Japan. Here’s a list of Rakuten’s major businesses. The Rakuten announcement notes that OverDrive achieved EBITDA of […]

Lights and Camera In Action at Tampa Bay Libraries

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Libraries in Central Florida are getting ready for their closeup. The Tampa Bay Library Consortium (TBLC), which represents 113 public, academic, school, and special libraries in the Sunshine State, has brought on a full-time videographer to serve each branch, and the consortium as well. Now special events, chats with authors, and even monthly newsletters from TBLC members are getting professional video treatment.

Hoopla Launches New Interface, Recommendation Engine

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Library streaming media provider hoopla digital has launched LightSpeed, the 3.0 version of its user interface, which includes a faster signup process for new users, a recommendation engine, multi-tiered genre-based searching, and an algorithm designed to tailor recommendations for patrons based on the usage history.

ALA, ARL Applaud FCC Vote on Net Neutrality

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In a significant victory for supporters of Net Neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today reclassified broadband Internet as a public utility, and established a new Open Internet Order that applies to both fixed and mobile broadband. The new Open Internet Order includes three “bright line” rules, specifically banning broadband providers from blocking access to legal content, applications, and services; impairing access to content, applications, and services; and prioritizing Internet traffic in exchange for “consideration of any kind.”

Ending the Invisible Library | Linked Data

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To explain the utility of ­semantic search and linked data, Jeff Penka, director of channel and product development for information management solutions provider Zepheira, uses a simple exercise. Type “Chevy Chase” into Google’s search box, and in addition to a list of links, a panel appears on the right of the screen, displaying photos of the actor, a short bio, date of birth, height, full name, spouses and children, and a short list of movies and TV shows in which he has starred. Continue typing the letters “ma” into the search box, and the panel instantly changes, showing images, maps, current weather, and other basic information regarding the town of Chevy Chase, MD.

OCLC Works Toward Linked Data Environment | ALA Midwinter 2015

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In an effort that parallels and complements the Library of Congress’s Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME), OCLC is using schema.org to help facilitate this discoverability using linked data, explained Richard Wallis, technology evangelist for OCLC and chair of the W3C Schema Bib Extend Community and his colleague Ted Fons, executive director, Data Services and WorldCat Quality Management for OCLC during the “OCLC Links and Entities: The Library Data Revolution” session at the American Library Association’s 2015 Midwinter conference in Chicago.

LITA Members Talk Tech Trends | ALA Midwinter 2015

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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.

DBW 2015: Amazon, Publishers Look to Ebook Subscription Services as Discovery Platform

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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.

OverDrive: Ebook Checkouts Up 33 Percent

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Public and school libraries that are part of OverDrive’s global network circulated 137 million ebooks, digital audiobooks, and other digital media in 2014—a 33 percent increase compared with 2013, according to statistics released by the company. Ebook circulation rose 32 percent, to 105 million, while digital audiobook circulation grew 38 percent, to 32 million. The OverDrive network also recorded 401 million visits to public library and school library websites powered by OverDrive, a 77 percent increase.