Category Archives: Conferences/Events

ALA’s Dartmouth Award Finally Goes to an Electronic Source

For the first time in history, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Dartmouth Award, designating outstanding quality and significance to a reference source, was given to an electronic resource.  Greenwood’s Pop Culture Universe, was the 2009 recipient. The Committee selected Pop Culture Universe because it compiles over 300 sources of pop culture information into a fun, user-oriented platform complete with a blog; in essence, Pop Culture Universe signifies the future of reference.  And, as you would expect from a forward thinking reference publisher, they’ve already got a press release on the blog of PCU!

More on the Dartmouth Award from the ALA site:

Established in 1974, this medal honors the creation of a reference work of outstanding quality and significance, including, but not limited to: writing, compiling, editing, or publishing books or electronic information. The award is given to works that have been published or made available for the first time during the calendar year preceding the presentation of the award. Dartmouth Medal Honorable Mention certificates may also be presented.

Dartmouth College established sponsorship of the award in 1974 upon the suggestion of Dean Lathem, Dartmouth College librarian. Dartmouth College commissioned the internationally celebrated graphic artist Rudolph Ruzicka to design the bronze medal. Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, who presided not only over the arts and sciences, but over all intellectual aspects of human life, is featured against a filigree of olive branches.

November e-book sales up 108%

The rise of e-books: IDPF reports November e-book sales up 108 percent—and here’s some analysis
By Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords

image Mark Coker is founder of Smashwords and Dovetail Public Relations, as well as moderator of a February 10 panel at Tools of Change on “The Rise of E-Book.” See a San Jose Mercury News Q & A on Smashwords (a publisher for independent writers), which recently signed a Stanza-related distribution deal. – D.R.

The IDPF says e-book sales were up 108 percent for the month of November 2008 compared to the same period a year ago. The data is provided in conjunction with surveys conducted by the American Association of Publishers, and represents wholesale sales from only 13 U.S.-based e-book publishers, so total reported sales figures understate actual sales.

imageFor the first eleven months of 2008, e-book sales were up about 64 percent, according to the IDPF.

Dig beneath the surface, and the numbers are striking. E-book sales are surging while the entire trade book industry suffers a decline. Are print sales suffering at the hands of e-book sales? Unlikely. Something else is happening.

For the five years between 2002 and 2007 (click here for data; opens a PDF), overall trade book sales averaged an annual increase of 2.5 percent. That’s lower than inflation, which means unit sales probably decreased.

By contrast, e-books for the same period turned in a 55.7 percent average annualized increase in sales revenue.

Tiny base—but still an accelerating growth rate

Granted, the robust sales growth for e-books was off of a tiny base to begin with. But fast forward to October of 2008, the date for which year-to-date sales are reported on the AAP web site , and you see overall trade book sales for the first 9 months of the year were down 3.4 percent while e-book sales were up about 58 percent. So the rate of e-book sales accelerated during the first 9 months of 2008 compared to the previous five years.

More interesting, for the month of October the AAP reported overall trade book sales suffered a 20 percent drop in the year over year monthly comparison, while e-book sales accelerated to 73 percent growth.

Numbers for November and December aren’t yet published on the AAP site, though today’s numbers from the IDPF, which are supplied by the AAP, indicated that e-book sales have accelerated yet again, up 108 percent for November.

As any numbers guy or gal will tell you, it’s easy to show great sales growth when you’re growing off of a small base. But when sales show sequential acceleration off of sequentially increasing bases (meaning, you grow faster as you grow larger), then something really interesting is taking place.

If we conservatively estimate that overall trade sales for 2008 declined 3 percent, and e-books sales increased 70 percent, then wholesale e-book sales will rise to $114 million and overall trade book sales will decline to $24.21 billion. In other words, e-books will still only represent 1/2 of 1 percent of book industry sales, at least here in the US.

If you extrapolate the 70 percent growth for five more years (and I would argue that 70 percent is a relatively conservative number), then e-books rise to $1.6 billion, and assuming a 2 percent growth rate of the overall trade book sales to $26.7 billion (generous), e-books would then represent a respectable 6 percent of sales.

If you’re attending the Tools of Change conference February 9-11, I invite you to attend a panel I’m moderating entitled, “The Rise of E-Books,” where we’ll explore the past, present and future of e-books and try to understand the implications of these numbers for publishers and authors alike.

In the meantime, if you’re an author, you need to start exposing your books to the digital realm. Clearly, as the numbers above indicate, you should continue to publish in print because e-book sales will account for only a small percentage of your overall sales. In the years ahead, however, e-books will become an increasingly important format for book consumption.

Read an E-Book Week March 8 – 14

Read An E-Book Week Read an E-Book Week (March 8 – 14) is fast approaching. In preparation for the big event this year we have completely redone our website – http://www.ebookweek.comThis year we welcome several new supporters – Tor.com, Sony, world-renowned author, Warren Adler, and E Ink to name a few.

Mr. Adler has provided an interesting article for our home page and two well-known guest writers are working on articles about the future of e-books for the website.

Help us celebrate Read an E-Book Week. Let us know what your library or organization has planned for the event and we’ll include you on our Partners page. Perhaps it will be a challenge read, or someone will staff a learn-how-to-download-e-books station to help newbie users.

If you would like a banner for your website they are available for downloading at: http://www.ebookweek.com/ebook_banners.html Feel free to resize them to fit your needs.

Rita Toews

Founder – Read an E-Book Week

ALAMW Technology Showcase

Those of you heading to Denver this weekend might want to check out several of the vendors presentations in the Technology Showcase (Show floor, aisle 800 or 2200).  The event is Monday, January 26th from 10:00 to 1:00.  Here are several eBook related vendors and times:

Credo Reference – 11:20 – 11:50 Pueblo Theater (aisle 800)

ebrary – 10:40 – 11:10 – Mesa Theater (aisle 2200)

Springer 12:40 – 1:10 – Mesa Theater (aisle 2200)

eBook programs at ALA Midwinter

If you are headed to Denver in a couple of weeks, see if you have time to pop into one of these panel discussions of eBooks and patron driven acquisition.  If anyone knows of other programs, please let me know.  This was all I could find in the online planner by keyword.

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM on 01/24
OCLC 10 Years of eBooks – What’s Next?
Location: Colorado Convention Center in Room 301

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM on 01/26
PVLR Forum: Patron-Driven Acquisition and Its Impact on Libraries, Vendors, and Publishers
Location: Colorado Convention Center in Room 301

Charleston Conference Loaded with eBooks

I just returned from The Charleston Conference and was amazed by the sessions and general discussions relating to eBooks.  I tried to get to most of them, but that was impossible due to the amount of sessions.  If you attended or presented one of these sessions, I invite you to post your comments to No Shelf Required.  I know we can all benefit from hearing more about ebooks.

Some highlights for me were Lindsey Schell’s discussion of patron driven purchasing at UT-Austin – a “platform agnostic” library, and the “banana” story told by Jason Price.  I was also humbled by the number of people that attended my session – the debate between patron driven purchasing and traditional collection development.  Thanks to all of you for attending, and for participating.  We used the audience response systems to survey the attendees, so I’ll post those results on NSR.

eBooks usage revealed, a webinar from Springer

This morning I “attended” the Springer webinar on eBook usage.  It was very informative and obviously focused on Springer content, but it did confirm some of my suspicions about eBook usage.   Here are some highlights:

They use COUNTER, as do most other eBook publishers/aggregators.  COUNTER is incredibly detailed with usage stats….are you using yours to investigate usage and trends?  why not?

2007 – over 25 million eBook chapter downloads, the numbers for 2008 thus far are higher.  I’m seeing this in my eBook usage from various aggregators and publishers.

Handbooks had the highest number of downloads, textbooks were next in line, followed by reference works.  Most of my eBook collection is reference, so that gets the highest use, but I do have a ton of Springer titles, and stats show my users are finding the handbooks and textbooks.

The older eBooks were still used a lot, older defined as 2005 and 2006.

Springer confirmed a couple of things from the ebrary student and faculty eBook surveys:

  • students want more eBooks in their subject areas – yeah, who wouldn’t!
  • faculty prefer electronic material over print

How do you drive usage to your eBooks?  Discoverability is the key.

  • Are you cataloging ALL of your eBook titles with MARC records in the catalog?  The SuperBook Project from the University College of London confirmed that cataloged books get 2 times as much traffic as non-cataloged books.  Makes sense to me.
  • Do you have link resolvers in place to drive users from A & I services to the eBook titles?
  • Are the eBooks you own indexed in google?  According to Springer, 2/3 of their eBook visits came from google – that’s any part of google, not just scholar.  Check with your publishers and aggregators to see if they allow google to index the eBook metadata or fulltext.  And if they do….how are those users getting to the eBook via your library?

eBook usage internationally is big – I’m hearing this from most publishers.  Springer compared eBook usage to eJournal usage.  Internationally, Hong Kong and Munster had approximately 51% journal and 49% eBook usage but U.S. libraries had more of the 80/20 breakdown.

The webinar was hosted by Wouter vander Velde, eProduct Manager, eBooks, Springer

Wouter had a lovely powerpoint with the charts/stats available, but I haven’t heard from him if I can share that on the blog.  If you would like to see it, you could probably email him.

Charleston Program to feature plenty on eBooks

Anyone interested in eBooks should take a look at the Charleston Conference program, November 5 – 8th.  There are a plethora of sessions including:

Ebook use among a group of large academic libraries
To Supersede or Supplement? Profiling E-book aggregator collections
eBook Intelligence: The 8th Annual Health Sciences Lively Lunch
E-Books – How are they different/how are they the same as online journals?
Expanding the Ebooks Buying Experience: Approval Plans
Patron-driven Purchasing in Ebooks
Top Ten Things to unlearn about eBooks
Integrating Print and Digital Reference Resources
Student’s Perception of E-books: Survey Results and Discussion
electronic books into a UK University Library collection
The E-book Challenge: From Start to Finish, and Beyond
Bouncing, Viewing and Power Browsing: Understanding How Students REALLY Use Your E-books
Identifying and describing e-books: challenges facing publishers, librarians and their partners

I’m very excited to attend many of these sessions, particularly the one on patron driven purchasing – a great new business model offered by some aggregators.  EBL and NetLibrary are the two that come to mind.

Please excuse my personal plug here, but if you have an opinion on patron driven purchasing, stop by the Lively Lunch session Friday at Charleston.  Alice Crosetto (Univ. of Toledo) and I will debate traditional collection development with patron driven purchasing.  We may even have Michelle Harper from NetLibrary with us to describe this biz model better.  Friday – 12:50 – 2:00 “Tossing Traditional Collection Development Practices for Patron Initiated Purchasing:  A Debate.” Embassy Suites


Future of Reference Publishing – Panel Summary

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference John Barnes, Rolf Janke, Sue Polanka, Michael Ross, Casper Grothwohl

For those of you unable to attend the ALA Panel – The Future of Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, there is a summary of the program available on Booklist Online.

We encourage comments, questions, and discussion on the blog.