OverDrive Offers Digital Kids’ Reading Rooms to Partner Libraries

OverDrive Offers Digital Kids’ Reading Rooms to Partner Libraries
Throughout the recent controversy over inappropriate and explicit content being listed in ebook retail websites alongside children’s and middle grade titles, the same questions kept coming to the surface: how did this happen, and how do we prevent it? Unfortunately for the authors and publishers of much of the questionable content, the immediate solution was to block nearly all titles with adult themes. Two retailers shut down their ebookstores altogether, while Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo all removed titles that they felt were in danger of being found by young consumers.

While the content has been slowly replaced in a one-at-a-time fashion, statements from at least one retailer have announced the position that they are under no obligation to sell any titles that do not meet their standards for appropriateness. Another retailer, Amazon, has taken the steps to evaluate the keywords that self-published authors associate with their titles and has begun the process of removing ebooks whose metadata and keywords seem intentionally misleading.

But in order to protect consumers, OverDrive announced today that it has created an online children’s reading room for its partner libraries. The purpose of this cyber sphere is to provide a safe and vetted location for young patrons to enjoy all of the same features and benefits that other patrons can have through the main OverDrive portal.

“eBooks are not just for adults, and we believe this site will help us highlight some of the great children’s content that we have to offer,” said Sharon Grant, Digital Branch Manager at Kitsap Regional Library where the digital reading room was piloted. “More importantly, we believe this site will save people time because it effectively highlights books by reading levels, age groups and interests.”

According to the press release on the launch of this child-safe library environment, “The eReading Room is a safe environment for children, independent of the larger digital collection, yet easily accessible and fully integrated – seamlessly working with your existing catalog. OverDrive offers clean, friendly, simple design options and the choice of including juvenile and/or young adult fiction and nonfiction titles. All titles in the eReading Room are also cataloged by reading level, ATOS scores, and other reading metrics to help parents and teachers select titles to aid in literacy campaigns. Adults and kids can sample titles in OverDrive Read prior to checking out a title.”

Hopefully, efforts such as this one will be sufficient to protect the interests of all parties involved. While young readers should not be subjected to material that is willfully mislabeled with the express purpose of attracting children, authors who have taken the appropriate steps to put their content only in front of mature audiences should not suffer under the sweeping changes that retailers have had to make.

OverDrive Offers Digital Kids’ Reading Rooms to Partner Libraries

USA Library Invites Indie Authors to Submit eBooks

USA Library Invites Indie Authors to Submit eBooks

The Washington County Library System in the United States have been growing their ebook collection to a respectable number in the last few years. To stimulate further growth, the entire system is employing an innovative method to develop their ebook portfolio. Local authors are encouraged to submit their own novels in electronic format to add to the existing library system using “Library Local Connect.”

Joe Manion, public services director for Washington County Libraries, developed the idea for Library Local Content after hearing of a similar initiative that is currently in place in Douglas County, Colo. “We’ve always been very concerned about making everybody’s works accessible,” he said. “What’s a little bit more difficult is to find the small author, the author who is getting started, the author who is local – but now we have the eBook revolution.”

The Washington County system hopes that this new initiative will help put the spotlight on local authors and help them get a wider exposure. There are a few criteria the system has developed in order to have quality ebooks in their system, such as any book that has been recognized for excellence in any Midwest Book Awards category, any book written or published by a member of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, any independently or self-published book written by a Minnesota author, and any independently or self-published book about Minnesota.

Chad Lubbers, manager of R.H. Stafford Library, said Washington County Libraries hope to one day make Library Local Content a statewide initiative. He said in a recent interview that, “This initiative is a matter of discovery,” he said. “People will be able to discover new authors and authors will be discovered – maybe we’ll find the next Amanda Hocking.”

Library Connect is a fabulous concept that is sure to catch on, once the entire system becomes a little more streamlined. The application process to have the ebooks included is ambiguous at best and convoluted at the worst. It is not as cut and dry as submitting your ebook via an online system, but is a mix of a traditional application form and emailing the digital book over. If they were to develop an automatic toolset that would do this all simply, the concept could catch on. It helps libraries bolster their online ebook portfolio AND give exposure to local authors.

USA Library Invites Indie Authors to Submit eBooks

UK Authors Want to Be Paid by Libraries When Their eBook Is Loaned Out

UK Authors Want to Be Paid by Libraries When Their eBook Is Loaned Out

UK Authors are petitioning the government to implement a policy for digital books that are loaned out by the public libraries. Authors are paid 6.05p every time their physical books are borrowed, up to a maximum of £6,600. This mandate is under the government-funded Public Lending Right scheme. At the moment ebooks and audiobooks do not currently pay the authors anything when patrons borrow them online.

The Guardian Newspaper in the UK conducted an interview with Nicola Solomon of the Society of Authors. She said that the current state of affairs with digital ebook lending was “terribly unfair” and said that “authors should be properly remunerated” for their work. “It’s very important to understand that authors do rely on PLR – it’s not just a nice little bonus. Many authors get PLR who are not bestsellers but do very well in libraries. People borrow very different books from the book they buy,” she said. “And authors can’t continue to write if they are not paid for their work.”

Authors have a legal right to the payments, she said, and could even consider going to court to recover them. “Since 1992 ‘rental and lending right’ has been a part of copyright protection. That means that authors have a legal right to equitable remuneration whenever their works are lent out,” she said. “The failure to make the payments means that the government and libraries are actually infringing the author’s copyright every time they make an ebook loan and authors would be entitled to sue for the losses caused by that infringement. We have no current plans to sue, and don’t know of any authors who are planning to do so – we would hope that the Government would recognise its legal and moral responsibility to make payments to authors particularly as ebook lending from libraries is becoming significant.”

UK Authors Want to Be Paid by Libraries When Their eBook Is Loaned Out

Penguin Random House establish unified marketing group for libraries

Penguin Random House establish unified marketing group for libraries

Penguin Random House has announced that they have created a unified marketing group that will deal with libraries. Company officials said that this move aimed at further strengthening its presence in the adult library market. “We will be ramping up our already extensive outreach efforts to libraries nationwide with our innovative marketing programs, as we align our two adult library marketing departments under one leader,”Jaci Updike, Penguin Random House president, sales, wrote in a company wide memo.

The creation of this new group is to basically make libraries lives easier. Penguin has been fielding questions on Random House authors since the two sides merged in 2013.

Penguin Random House establish unified marketing group for libraries

EBSCO Gains 30,000 eBook Titles from Random House

EBSCO Gains 30,000 eBook Titles from Random House

Random House and EBSCO have come to terms on a new digital book strategy for libraries. Starting today, over 30,000 titles will be available from some of the most notable Random House authors, including Dan Brown, Sheryl Sandberg, Dean Koontz, Gillian Flynn and more.

Random House titles have been added to the nearly 600,000 eBooks and audiobooks that EBSCO eBooks already offers. The titles represent both frontlist and popular backlist titles from all Random House imprints and publishing groups, which publish fiction and nonfiction, both original and reprints, by some of the foremost and most popular writers of our times.

The partnership will help librarians acquire high-demand titles in a cost-effective way since there are no markups or fees of any kind on EBSCO eBook titles. EBSCO makes it easy for librarians to build or grow e-book collections through featured collections. Random House titles will be included in EBSCO’s Best-Sellers Collection, New Releases Collection and Youth Award Winners Collection.

Many libraries that do business with EBSCO such as Brooklyn and Philadelphia currently do not have any of the new Random House titles. It is up to the librarians to order the books to make them available to the patrons. Hopefully many libraries all over the US will be putting in orders to stock their virtual shelves with a ton of great titles.

EBSCO Gains 30,000 eBook Titles from Random House

Overdrive to Provide HTML5 Audiobook Support in Early 2015

Overdrive to Provide HTML5 Audiobook Support in Early 2015

Overdrive has announced that at the beginning of 2015 they will be implementing a new MP3 audiobook system that will be able to play them in any HTML5 compatible browser. This is tremendously useful for patrons borrowing audio content from the library, because they no longer have to download the audio file or a dedicated app, everything is simply done in the browser.

All major internet browsers for desktop computers, tablets or smartphones all have the ability to render HTML5 content. You don’t need any extra plugins in order to get it to work.

The new audiobook system will be apart of Overdrive Read, which is their HTML5 browser based solution. Currently the system can only read e-Books in EPUB2 or EPUB3 with fixed layouts. It also has support for offline reading, but it is unclear whether you will be able to listen to audiobooks offline, or if needs a constant internet connection for streaming. It is also important to note for existing libraries that your collection of WMV audiobooks are incompatible, it is only going to be available for MP3 files.

Overdrive to Provide HTML5 Audiobook Support in Early 2015

Smashwords, OverDrive Brings Indie Titles to Libraries

Smashwords, OverDrive Brings Indie Titles to Libraries
An agreement announced today between ebook distributor and self-publishing platform Smashwords and OverDriv e, the largest provider of digital content to public and school libraries, is going to give self-published authors one of the few remaining pieces in the publishing puzzle, namely the ability for libraries to stock their work.

As it stands right now, self-published authors must contact libraries individually and ask them to stock their titles. Even with advancements like inclusion in the Ingram catalog or CreateSpace’s expanded distribution option, libraries have had the ability to stock these titles, but really had no incentive to notice or find them them. And with library budgets being slashed to embarrassingly low amounts and shelf space shrinking for already cash-strapped libraries, the chances of them taking a risk on an unheard of author were not very high.

But this agreement will enable indie authors to offer their books as part of OverDrive’s one million-plus title catalog, allowing libraries that option to find and stock the ebooks. With the typically lower price of ebooks through Smashwords, the opportunity for libraries to stock titles for their patrons and to increase author discoverability increases.

“I think this is probably one of our most exciting distribution agreements in a long time,” said Mark Coker, CEO and founder of Smashwords , in an interview yesterday with Good e-Reader . “I was excited about our subscription distribution [to Scribd and Oyster], but this brings the excitement to a new level. We’ve been trying to crack the library market for the last couple of years. We know that libraries have access to hundreds of millions of readers but they don’t have massive budgets, we know that traditional publishers have been unfriendly to libraries, and we know that indie authors’ books are becoming some of the most popular books in the world. We have all these authors at Smashwords who are pro-library, and want to serve libraries.”

The monetization of content from Smashwords will work just like it does for any consumer. When a library purchases the title for inclusion in its catalog, it is treated as a sale, just as when that same library purchases a title from a Big Five publisher. The key difference, of course, is that Smashwords’ titles are on average far less cost prohibitive than traditionally published titles, making them a more enticing choice for libraries who want to provide their patrons with an abundance of content. Also, given the single-checkout system that OverDrive follows, the Buy button will be in place on the book page within the library’s catalog; if a patron chooses to put a hold on a title so he can check it out when it becomes available, he will have the option to buy the title directly from Smashwords instead of waiting.

This announcement follows closely on the heels of another major distribution agreement announced yesterday which will distribute the Smashwords catalog to Berlin-based txtr. While txtr’s market, much like Diesel, may not be one of the top players in the ebook market, as Coker pointed out those sales are sales that indie authors would not have made otherwise.

Smashwords, OverDrive Brings Indie Titles to Libraries