First McGill, now Michigan. Libraries in the Print-on-Demand Biz

I was envious with McGill’s news, and now Michigan!  Talk about rubbing salt on my wounds….

Seriously, this is fantastic news for UM Libraries.  Their new “Espresso Book Machine,” – and it ain’t coffee folks – will print-on-demand titles from the UM digital collection.  Public domain titles from the 2 million item collection will be the first shot for Espresso.  Books will cost around $10.00, but must be picked up in person, as UM doesn’t plan on getting in the shipping business.

LJ News has a nice story. For more information on the Espresso, check out On Demand Books.

ABC-CLIO will now Publish Greenwood Imprints

Big news in reference publishing today.  ABC-CLIO has licensed the content of Greenwood Imprints.  Here’s a clip of the press release:

ABC-CLIO and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today announced an agreement granting ABC-CLIO a perpetual license to use the imprints and publish the titles of Greenwood Publishing Group, including Greenwood Press, Praeger Publishers, Praeger Security International and Libraries Unlimited. In addition, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will transfer certain assets, including copyrights, contracts and inventory, of Greenwood Publishing Group to ABC-CLIO. This agreement is effective immediately.

According to Ron Boehm, a No Shelf Required Advisory Board Member, oh, and the CEO of ABC-CLIO, they will dramatically be scaling up the eBook program with this combination.  I like to hear that news!

Sounds like the perfect October audio interview to me….Ron, you up for it?

DailyLit – reading your books in small pieces, via email or RSS

Have you heard of DailyLit? – it’s pretty cool.  DailyLit provides small installments of books to users through an email message or RSS feed, daily.  Hey, since it’s not a piece of paper, I consider this an eBook!  It was built on the premise that we don’t have time to read books, but yet we still find time to read email, so they combined the two!

They have over 950 titles either for free or a small access fee.  Many are classics and now, some are provided by none other than Oxford University Press!

It’s easy to set-up a free account and get started.  You can determine how frequently you want the installments delivered, and even choose the time of day.  For my first title, I chose Tom Peter’s 100 Ways to Succeed and Make Money.  My first installment (of 100) was a simple read of 362 words – all about being neat and tidy!

But my next title will definitely be:   Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!)   hmmm.

They have a blog, rating and review area, and plenty of ways for their members (over 125K) to converse.  Check it out.  I’m off to clean my desk ;)

Using eBooks for students with disabilities

Now here is a great use for eBooks - increasing access to traditional print textbooks for students with disabilities.

SOCHE, the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education received a grant to provide an online library of electronic textbooks to qualifying students at 12 institutions in Ohio.  These electronic textbooks offer students with disabilities the chance to listen to the textbooks via screen reading software, increase the font size on computer screens, and probably lots of other things too.  Things that were much more difficult or impossible to do with a print copy.

Prior to this collaboration, each school had to transfer the textbooks to electronic format.  So the same textbook may have been transferred to electronic format 12 times.  Now, only one copy is transferred and the 12 schools can share access to the title.  For those of you thinking these students get free books, nadda.  Each student still has to purchase a copy of the title, then they are given access to it electronically.

It would be great to make this a statewide, or even nationwide effort.  Think of the money that could be saved.  Do other universities or even public libraries participate in similar activities?

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.

OverDrive now works with Zune

If you are one of the 8,500 libraries using the OverDrive Media Console for digital audiobooks, you now have a new feature – compatibility with Microsoft’s Zune.  Both DRM-free and DRM-protected (Digital Rights Management) audiobooks are compatible.  This now opens up the direct transfer of audiofiles to Zune, iPod, and virtually all other mp3 devices.

For the full story, check out OverDrive’s press release.

or, skip the full story and just download the Media Console.

Infobase to release eBook platform this Fall

Attention public, school, and community college libraries.

Infobase, publisher for Chelsea House, Facts on File, Ferguson, and Bloom’s Literary Criticism will release it’s own eBook platform this Fall.  However, titles will still be available from previously established interfaces.

Current titles and backlist titles will be available at launch (1800+) and forthcoming titles will also come in e version.

Looks like the business model is similar to GVRL – unlimited simultaneous access and an archival PDF copy of each title purchased.  Which, leads me to believe this will NOT be a subscription product.  No word yet on pricing.

I’m hoping to get a sneak peek at the interface in the next couple of weeks, so details on the interface bells and whistles to follow.

Duke University Press releases eBooks, and the price is right!

Super cool!  Duke University Press has just released their scholarly eBook collection.  The collection includes over 100 titles and is run on the ebrary platform.  If you are not familiar with ebrary, they are an eBook aggregator and offer institutions the opportunity to load their own material into the ebrary platform.  Clearly, Duke University Press has taken advantage of this option, which is the first I’ve seen.  The Duke content is not part of other ebrary collections, but can be cross searched with  titles libraries already own in ebrary.

Those who purchase the eBooks can also get access to 900 backlist titles, depending on which years they purchased the print.  And, for an extra $500.00 libraries will receive the cloth editions of all titles from a given year.

Duke was actually bold enough to post their pricing – way to go Duke!  And, it’s incredibly reasonable.  For the 100 title collection, prices range from $500 to $6000 depending on a library’s Carnegie classification.  So, if my math is right (which usually isn’t), that’s 100 titles for $5.00 each up to $60.00 each.  No, that’s not a typo, I didn’t misplace the decimal point!  I’d like to see those kind of prices for all my eBooks ;)

University Presses, jump on the ebrary wagon.  This is awesome.  Hey ebrary, will you work with independent publishers too?  If so, Kevin Sayer, then you’re truly a rock star!

DRM – What is it and why should libraries care?

What is DRM?

DRM stands for Digital Rights Management, coding added to digital content to control access.  DRM prevents copying, editing, and sharing of digital files.   You may have come across DRM in your personal use of digital music or digital video recorders.  More importantly, if your library offers or plans to offer ebooks, audiobooks, DVDs, and other media, usage of this content will be controlled by DRM.

Why is DRM used?

To protect copyright. Media and publishing companies want to protect their content from piracy, illegal copying or editing, and sharing, ie. to control access.

DRM is controversial.

Many people feel that DRM prohibits the fair use of media by the majority of the general public.  For example, some DRM programs prevent the creation of backup copies of music and DVDs, printing of ebooks, recording of TV shows or movies for home viewing, and the selection of some hand held devices, since Sony and Apple use different DRM software.  Additionally, DRM is now supported by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a consumer advocacy group for the networked world says “the DMCA has become a serious threat that jeopardizes fair use, impedes competition and innovation, chills free expression and scientific research, and interferes with computer intrusion laws.”

Why should I care about DRM?

DRM is particularly relevant to libraries since many are providing digital media in the form of ebooks, audiobooks, digital music and videos, and software and games.  Chances are the media you are purchasing to deliver digitally is controlled with DRM software.  For libraries, the DRM software prevents copying and editing of digital content, controls printing of ebooks, and magically makes the digital content “disappear” after a due date, even if patrons have downloaded a copy to their personal computer, external storage device, or a hand held device.

If you purchase ebooks or audiobooks from aggregators and distributors such as:  EBL, ebrary, Follett Digital Resources, Gale Virtual Reference Library, NetLibrary, and OverDrive, you will have digital content with DRM, so it’s important to understand DRM and how it is used by each of the vendors.
More information on DRM can be found here:

American Library Association

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

How Stuff Works

Microsoft

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Gale and Greenwood eBook Partnership Expands

Gale and Greenwood eBook Partnership Expands
Current Greenwood Titles Now on Gale Virtual Reference Library

Farmington Hills, Mich., September 12, 2008 – Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, and Greenwood Publishing Group have enhanced their partnership to include more high-demand Greenwood titles, including more than 130 titles released in 2008 as eBooks on Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL).  Previously, only titles published prior to 2005 were available on GVRL.
“This is a significant benefit to our GVRL customers as it greatly enhances our K-12 eBook collection,” said Erin Sullivan, product manager at Gale. “Greenwood has responded to the requests of their customers to have a larger number of current titles available on GVRL and allow users to cross-reference the most recent titles from Greenwood, Gale and others through GVRL, to provide the most current information available.”
“Customers need to have access to our titles in the platform and format that works best for them,” said Ron Maas, VP Business Development and Sales at Greenwood.  “We’ve been pleased with the response to our initial collection on GVRL, and look forward to expanding our offerings.”
GVRL allows librarians to adapt their reference collection to meet the changing needs of their patrons—offering researchers simultaneous, 24/7 remote access to titles with no special reader or hardware required.
Some of the Greenwood titles now available on GVRL include:
• African American Icons of Sport: Triumph, Courage and Excellence
• Barack Obama: A Biography
• Encyclopedia of Cybercrime
• Global Warming 101
• Going to School in the Middle East and North Africa
• How Your Government Really Works: A Topical Encyclopedia of the Federal Government
• Icons of Crime Fighting: Relentless Pursuers of Justice
• LeBron James: A Biography
• Race Relations in the United States, 1940-1960
• Sports Scandals
• Women Icons of Popular Music: The Rebels, Rockers and Renegades
• Young British Muslim Voices
• And many more
This new content expands the depth and breadth of the reference available through the GVRL, which in addition to several Gale imprints, includes over 2,000 titles from other leading publishers.  For more information, visit www.gale.com/gvrl.

About Greenwood Publishing GroupThe Greenwood Publishing Group is one of the world’s leading publishers of reference titles, academic and general interest books, texts, books for librarians and other professionals, and electronic resources. With over 18,000 titles in print, GPG publishes some 1,000 books each year, many of which are recognized with annual awards from Choice, Library Journal, the American Library Association, and other scholarly and professional organizations.  For more information contact Publicity Director, Laura Mullen, laura.mullen@greenwood.com

About Cengage Learning and Gale
Cengage Learning delivers highly customized learning solutions for colleges, universities, professors, students, libraries, government agencies, corporations and professionals around the world. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, serves the world’s information and education needs through its vast and dynamic content pools, which are used by students and consumers in their libraries, schools and on the Internet. It is best known for the accuracy, breadth and convenience of its data, addressing all types of information needs – from homework help to health questions to business profiles – in a variety of formats – books and eBooks, databases and microfilm.  For more information visit: www.cengage.com or www.gale.com.

Media Contact:
Lindsay Brown
Director, Corporate Communications
Cengage Learning
203-965-8634
lindsay.brown@cengage.com

A blog discussing the news and issues surrounding eBooks, for librarians and publishers.