All posts by Mirela Roncevic

ALA Panel Alert: Leading with Ebooks — New Strategies for Librarians and Publishers

Join a panel of librarians, publishers, and thought leaders in a dynamic exchange of ideas for advancing ebook services in libraries.

LEADING WITH EBOOKS: NEW STRATEGIES FOR LIBRARIANS AND PUBLISHERS
Sunday, June 29th, Las Vegas Convention Center, Room N252, 3:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Total BooX, an ebook service based on the premise that public libraries need not settle for less than instant, simultaneous access to ebooks or pay for the content not read by their patrons, this panel seeks to challenge existing patterns in ebook management and engage industry leaders to identify the trends moving publishing and librarianship into new territories.

Topics explored include: thinking like digital natives (even if we are not); tracking reading (after the checkout); rethinking marketing (as everyone’s task); valuing content (while embracing technology); and acting now (and walking the talk).

The panel is moderated by Mirela Roncevic, co-editor of ALA’s journal eContent Quarterly and contributing writer to No Shelf Required.

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Gale and Wiley partner, Dummies® titles now available via GVRL

Another day, another partnership in Libraryland. This one will result in the addition of Wiley’s well-known Dummies® series to Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL). It also serves to remind us that “reference” continues to blend with “nonfiction” in digital environments. Those days when the word “reference” was synonymous with A-Z, encyclopedias, and dictionaries are behind us. It is safe to predict that the trend of blending “other formats” with traditional reference will continue not just for Gale but for other vendors as well and that GVRL will include many different types of books in the near future.

Press release below. Continue reading

Total BooX Announces Service Expansion in the United States

Total Boox

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Allegany County (MD), Brazoria County (TX), and The Ferguson Library, Stamford (CT) Join Westchester Library System (NY) To Offer Total BooX Service

May 28, 2014 (New York, Tel Aviv)—Total BooX is pleased to announce the expansion of its service in U.S. libraries, which officially launched in late 2013 with Westchester Library System in New York. Three more libraries will now provide the revolutionary ebook service to their patrons, including Allegany County Library System (ACLS), MD, Brazoria County Library System (BCLS), TX, and The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT.

“Ours is the only platform that allows libraries to pay for the value received, while giving patrons instant and perpetual access. This is a major shift,” said Total BooX Founder Yoav Lorch when the service debuted at ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia in January 2014. Since then, the Israeli company has expanded its operations in the United States to include representatives on the East and West coasts. Continue reading

News-O-Matic, a new educational news app for students

Press4Kids (P4K), a publisher of daily news applications for young readers, released an interesting new educational app for school students last month, News-O-Matic. Geared toward students in elementary and middle schools (ages 7-11), the app is described as the students’ “first daily newspaper” (with five new stories added each day) and it has a lot going for it. Among other things, it allows students to rate articles, ask questions, and submit drawings that relate to the news stories.

See full press release below. For more on the company behind the app and the app itself, visit www.press4kids.com.
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Total BooX Launches Free Reading for All

Total Boox

Libraries are used to receiving a lot of love from vendors and publishers during National Library Week, which this year kicks off on April 13th. Many vendors have already made announcements about opening up their content, including ProQuest and Oxford University Press. Total Boox is joining them today with its own initiative.

This is a first, folks: In honor of National Library Week, the ebook vendor will open up its entire collection of ebooks (20,000 and counting) on April 13th and make it accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Although one does not have to be a library patron to take advantage of the free reading, Total Boox is encouraging public librarians in particular to use this opportunity to educate their patrons about ebooks, especially in the communities where libraries cannot afford ebook lending services.

The Free Reading Week site is set up and becomes active April 13th. Users need to sign up for the service on this page using their email and password. They will then be prompted to download the Total Boox free Reader app for one of the three tablets supported: Android, iOS, or Kindle Fire. Books may then be downloaded by visiting www.totalboox.com.

Full press release below.

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Interview with Roger Rosen: On embracing technology selectively and holistically

Navigating Rosen Publishing’s 2014 catalog of digital content may at first seem a bit overwhelming: it impresses both as a vibrant presentation of the company’s wide array of digital offerings but it also reminds us of just how “digital” K–12 publishing has become. Or at the very least, it makes those of us still tempted to think of Rosen as merely a “publisher” realize it has now transformed into a multifaceted media company.

Perhaps more than any other independent publisher of K–12 resources on the market today, Rosen has become synonymous with high-quality, always in-demand, constantly evolving interactive content. It has also become synonymous with digital learning solutions, produced to be fully aligned with state, national, STEM, and Common Core standards. Indeed, taking a closer look at Rosen’s offerings today, it’s clear that despite the versatility of its content, Rosen has become a passionate advocate of STEM learning. And they’ve been releasing products to prove it, too.

Spring 2014 issue of eContent Quarterly, now available to subscribers on ALA Techsource’s  web site for download, features a review of Rosen Publishing’s Core Concepts: Period Table, a resource in Rosen’s Core Concepts suite, which launched in 2013 and was followed with the early 2014 release of Core Concepts: Biology. While eContent Quarterly features an exclusive review of the product, taken for a test drive by two school librarians in two different institutions, the interview below with Roger Rosen, president of Rosen Publishing, is available exclusively on No Shelf Required. We caught up with Roger and asked him to shed some light on the company’s journey from a print publisher to a leading digital media company for the K-12 library market. Continue reading

What to expect when buying e-resources for high schools

Lura Sanborn, reference and instruction school librarian at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, recently wrote a piece on ebooks and digital collections for the School Library Monthly. It provides a useful overview of the state of ebook acquisitions in high school libraries and the features of the most dominant e-resources on the market. We have received permission to reprint this article on No Shelf Required.

Lura has been active in the digital arena and has published her perspectives on the future of libraries in various sources, including ALA’s new journal eContent Quarterly. In her article “Bookless Library? I Raise You the Building,” featured in the Winter 2014 issue of eContent Quarterly, she convincingly argued that fully embracing a buildingless library is the logical next step for all academic institutions. Here she echoes similar “we have crossed the digital Rubicon” sentiments, focusing on the actual products and explains what high school libraries can expect to gain from and pay for each. The products covered range from platforms used for research to those used for lending purposes. The full article is reprinted below. Continue reading

Total Boox, a new ebook platform for libraries, launches

TBX log low rez

This just in from a new entrant into the ebook arena: Total Boox, an Israeli-based company, has announced today the launch of its ebook product bearing the same name. Highlights include simultaneous access, no waiting lines, no up-front payment for books, patrons’ interest driving purchases, affordable metered reading, and, perhaps the most interesting part: ownership of each title  (or portions of the title read) that the library purchases is transferred to the patron –  indefinitely. Full details are provided in the press release below.

Stay tuned for Sue Polanka’s upcoming audio interview with President and Founder of Total Boox, Yoav Lorch, who will shed more light on the product and the company behind it.

Meanwhile, a November 2013 article featured in Publishers Weekly [bit.ly/1drVBJ1] is a good place to start for more context on the business model. It also gives more details about Total Boox’s pilot with Westchester Library System in New York.

 

Total Boox Launches and Announces Pilot with Westchester Library System

 

A new, cutting-edge ebook service brings more reading for patrons and more efficient use of library budgets.

January 21, 2014 (New York, Tel Aviv) — Total Boox, Ltd. is pleased to announce the launch of Total Boox for Libraries, a cutting-edge ebook service designed to give patrons a new digital reading experience, while giving libraries full control of their budget. Thousands of fiction and nonfiction titles are available for instant download—with no waiting lines—and patron access to them never expires. Whether patrons read online or offline and whether they read one page, a chapter, or an entire ebook, libraries only pay for the content they read. Continue reading

E-Content in Libraries: 2013 in Review (Trends, Reflections, Highlights)

2013 in Review

Re-reading the introduction to the NSR “year in review” article from last year makes it tempting to cut and paste parts of the post from 12 months ago into this one. Looking back at how e-content in libraries—in all its incarnations—continued to evolve throughout 2013, it becomes obvious that 2013 carried on the legacy of the years past. Those who created, reviewed, sold, and managed e-content for libraries witnessed a kind of solidification (rather than reinvention) of a number of initiatives and products that were introduced in 2011 and 2012. In many ways, 2013 was less about changing the game and more about playing it well. And since many of last year’s observations still hold true, some cutting-and-pasting is in order:

  • new alliances were formed among both publishers and vendors”
  • more mergers took place”
  • open access initiatives showed no signs of slowing down”
  • “those of us keeping up with e-content were reminded that emerging technological advances continued to push the boundaries of what we thought was possible only a year before”
  • “our industry was challenged to rethink its own expectations about digital library environments but also dare to aim higher

 

2013 Trends

Based on the initiatives brought to us by the companies whose products are listed below (see 2013 Highlights), we may draw some conclusions about the e-content trends likely to dominate 2014:

Self-publishing continues to soar — According to a recent analysis of US ISBN data by Bowker, the number of self-published titles in 2012 jumped to more than 391,000, up 59 percent over 2011 and 422 percent over 2007. Ebooks comprised 40 percent of the ISBNs that were self-published in 2012, up from just 11 percent in 2007. Smashwords conducted a study in 2013 to analyze self-published book sales data and also released its key findings in an effort to help authors and publishers sell more ebooks.

Kids’ reading of ebooks is growing — Scholastic’s study on kids’ reading in the digial age (Kids & Family Reading Report) found that kids’ reading of ebooks has nearly doubled since 2010. According to the findings, the percentage of children who have read an ebook has almost doubled since 2010 (25% vs. 46%); 75 percent of kids who have read an ebook are reading ebooks at home; 72 percent of parents are interested in having their child read ebooks; and half of children age nine-17 said they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to ebooks (a 50 percent increase since 2010). 

All of this is great news for K-12 publishers rushing (justifiably) to “animate” their front- and backlist and breathe new life into existing content via interactive platforms and e-learning resources. Leaders on the K-12 publishing side include Scholastic, of course, as well as Rosen Publishing.

Lines are blurring as vendor roles are expanding — As everyone in the market of producing and selling e-content to libraries expands their existing lines of services, librarians are left with the daunting task of keeping up with who does what. Long gone are the days when publishers simply published books and distributors brought them to libraries. The picture in 2013 is complex and it looks something like this:

  • major library aggregators are becoming publishers (think EBSCO acquiring publishers like Wilson and Salem Press)
  • major academic publishers are becoming sources of free and Open Access books (think DeGruyter)
  • traditional book distributors are morphing into ebook lending services (think Baker & Taylor)
  • ebook lending services are embracing new leasing models by taking clues from established aggregators (think 3M’s interest in patron-driven purchasing)
  • self-publishing services are providing content to libraries (think Smashwords’ LibraryDirect service )
  • non-profit online repositories are becoming publishers (think Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press)
  • e-retailers are becoming publishers (think Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing) as well as online reading communities (think Amazon acquiring GoodReads)
  • K-12 publishers are becoming “media” companies (think Rosen’s new suite of interactive learning resources)

Public libraries are showing more interest in publishing as well as owning content — If various organizations with no background in publishing are becoming publishers, shouldn’t librariesa fertile ground for cultivating authors, many would argue—reconsider their roles in the 21st century? In ALA’s June 2013 E-Content Digital Supplement, Jamie La Rue proposed that libraries consider their potential as future publishers of locally-grown content. “There are several reasons why public libraries might want to move in this direction,” wrote La Rue, “Once a library invests in the infrastructure to manage ebooks directly from publishers, it finds that the same infrastructure allows it to be a publisher.” 

Back in September La Rue’s Douglas County Libraries (DCL) announced the debut of The Wire: A Writer’s Resourcea blog that provides information for aspiring authors to write, publish, and find markets for their books. And just a couple of weeks ago, news broke that DCL and Colorado Library Consortium were awarded an LSTA grant of over $200,000 for their “eVoke 2.0: Colorado Statewide eBook Pilot Project: proposal. The goal of the project is to develop an alpha stage end-to-end cloud e-content infrastructure that will provide e-content purchasing and lending capabilities to Colorado libraries. This again reaffirms DCL’s resolve to own the content purchased.

Integration of multi-media components is the next frontier —  This is a no-brainer. Many studies, surveys, and articles have pointed to the fact that digital reading is, at its best, interactive reading. This explains why a number of vendors is developing digitally-born interactive content inviting students and researchers to engage in a new kind of learning: watching and listening while reading. There is also a growing interest in all things digital audiobooks. Baker & Taylor has made great strides on this front, enabling library patrons to borrow and download digital audiobooks directly to their Apple and Android mobile devices.

Big “multi-media” stories of 2013 included Credo releasing its very first all-video collection and, of course, OverDrive—still the biggest force to be reckoned with in the land of ebook lending services—announced back in January that its platform would be enhanced with streaming video and audio technology; the service went live last month.

Content still wants to be free (to the user) — Well, clearly it does. Because we keep getting more free access to it all the time, from both expected sources like Open Access initiatives UnGlue.It and Knowledge Unlatched and the newly launched Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the less likely sources like for-profit academic publishers.

The biggest confirmation of the value of free access in the 21st century came just last month when the long-running Google Books lawsuit (which accused Google of copying millions of books without permission) was dismissed. “In my view,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin, ,”Google Books provides significant public benefits…Indeed, all society benefits.”

Partnerships continue to thrive – An industry leader once said at a conference, “competitors are just companies you haven’t figured out how to partner with yet.” Judging from the staggering number of partnerships that were announced in 2013, it seems that the key players in the e-content ecosystem are quickly realizing the value of partnering with those that can enhance their offerings as well as those who are directly competing with their products. Gale (part of Cengage Learning), for example, has made 2013 the year of partnerships with institutions as revered as The National Geographic, the Smithsonian, and the Associated Press.

University presses continued to join forces in an effort to bring even more monographic content to digital library collections, with four main initiatives still going strong (including those by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, JStor, and ProjectMUSE).

Then there are deals more complex than partnerships, and we’ve come to identify them as mergers or acquisitions. The year kicked off with a major announcement from ProQuest that it was acquiring the long-time competitor to ebrary: EBL. “A major reason ProQuest wished to acquire EBL was to extend their innovative business models, including the patent-protected Non-Linear Lending (NLL) model and chapter-level purchasing, said Kevin Sayar, Senior Vice President, ProQuest Workflow Solutions, at the time the announcement was first made.

Trade publishers are coming around – The Big Six (or Five) are starting to ease the restrictions imposed on libraries lending ebooks to patrons. Looking back into the not-so-distant past, it’s clear that the trade side has come a long way. As of late 2013, every major trade publisher has some deal in place helping libraries bring ebook versions of popular titles to patrons. Simon & Schuster, the last remaining holdout among the Big Six (or Five), is now undergoing a pilot program with several libraries in New York; Random House recently announced a big partnership with both Follett and MyiLibrary; Harlequin titles are now available via MyiLibrary; Macmillan added 11,000 ebooks to Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 platform in late 2013; and back in April, Penguin removed the six-month embrago on ebook titles licensed to libraries, now offering new titles simultaneously in both print and electronic formats.

Academic publishers are recognizing the value of e-learning tools – Just like K-12 publishers are recognizing the value of engaging young learners with interactive content, academic publishers continue to recognize the value in integrating e-learning tools into their resources to enhance the research experience for all involved. This no longer implies merely embedding citation tools and personalization features. It means working with academic institutions to connect directly to the curriculum; providing  professors with the tools to create their own textbooks; embedding teaching tools that allow educators to monitor student progress; supplementing video lectures with various academic titles; and more. SAGE’s recent partnership with Coursera, a massive open online course (MOOC) provider, is a leading example of an established academic publisher stepping outside its comfort zone to make their resources available to millions of students using MOOCs.

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