Bridging a Little Bit of the Gap Between EReaders and EBooks.

May 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm (eBooks, ereaders, Kindle, Libraries, OverDrive, Uncategorized)

 I recently enjoyed a meeting attended by an OverDrive representative.  So I thought I would pass along some of the information I learned about, outside of the news that Amazon’s Kindle will soon work with OverDrive’s services.  Maybe some of the following information is not new to you, but just in case, I thought I would share.  The following could help your library enhance its digital branch presence.

1. Okay.  I thought I would avoid it, but here is a little Kindle information.  Our current formats, such as pdfs and ePubs, will work with Amazon’s Kindle and the Kindle app in the future.  Libraries will not need to purchase or re-purchase new formats; however, that comes with a price.  Patrons will most likely have to download separate software to side-load, a.k.a. transfer, items to their Kindle.

2.OverDrive offers  LEAP,  the Library eBook Accessibility Program.  It is designed to help visually-impaired patrons gain access to the titles they want, but may not be in the library catalog. OverDrive has combined forces with Bookshare, which is a non-profit organization that has, ” 70,000 popular digital books, textbooks, newspapers, and magazines”*.  The LEAP program includes formats such as DAISY, which is compatible with many devices.  They also offer free software including Read: OutLoud and Victor Reader.  The best part, it’s free.  So, add it to your site.

3. The Community-Reserve service.  It would be an icon:Community Reserve - Library 2 Library

on your library’s OverDrive webpage where you can upload digitized content from your local community collection.  Community Reserve is not limited to sharing only digitized print materials.  You also have the capability to offer your patrons access to local video, audio, and music files.  Again, it’s free.  Click here to learn more about it.

4. LibraryBin.  This is a fantastic program; although, currently it is being updated.  So, while I am waiting to hear back on when it will be available to my library group, I will tell you about it.  LibraryBin allows patrons to buy eBooks through OverDrive’s website.  For instance, if there is a long holds list for Water for Elephants, patrons have to option to buy the eBook, if they do not want to wait for it. (I picked this title specifically, because we have over 70 patrons waiting to download it)!  All the proceeds from the sale of the eBooks go directly back into our collection development fund.  LibraryBin also allows patrons to make donations to the library, again with all the proceeds going back into our collection budget. I personally do not feel that prices for LibraryBin’s ebooks are very competitive when compared to other vendors, but the program stresses over-and-over again about how purchasing books through this avenue strictly benefit the public library and no one else.  I am going to say this again, but that is why it is so fantastic:  It’s free, so put it on your site.

5.  OverDrive also mentioned for public libraries not to waste their time on investing our valuable budget dollars into lending out eReaders.  Concentrate on your collection. No matter which device you buy, in several months they will most likely be obsolete.

6.    Overdrive has also released a new version of their app, v2.0. The app now has the ability to run advanced searches.  Hurray!  It also allows for better functionality with the Blackberry, meaning that particular device is no longer is restricted to Mobipocket formats.  It will now accept ePubs.

So, maybe this is not the most intense learning experience, but my point is that OverDrive offers a lot of services to its customers for free.  All you need to do is simply send out an email to your account representative.  I also need to mention that OverDrive is extremely receptive to changes to your website, whether it is completely revamping your look, which we just did, or simply adding an icon or two.  The best part, all the changes and additions are free if you are already an OverDrive subscriber.  I love the fact that the company is so supportive towards public libraries and constantly and consistently inventing new ways to make our services valuable and appealing our community demographic.  So, when you get the chance, email your account manager, and add all of the services you can.  Again they are free, and more importantly, valuable.

*OverDrive. (n.d.) OverDrive-LEAP. retrieved May 25, 2011 from http://www.overdrive.com/files/LEAP.pdf

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5 Comments

  1. booksNyarn said,

    Your #1 is interesting, because my OverDrive rep gave me a different take on how the materials would be available to Kindle users. Of course, that was almost a month ago, just after the announcement, so it will be interesting to see what the actual process will be! We have also benefited from the Library BIN program, which surprised us. The credit is small but can definitely add up.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Gary Anderson said,

    I have what I believe are valuable ebooks regarding the causes of the credit crisis, as well as a little read about Will Rogers. My sales aren’t so great on Amazon. Will the academic value of these ebooks get recognized in the library in a way that they are not in the popular marketplace? Can I expect my sales to increase under the library format?

    • melissabrisbin said,

      Well, I am not in an academic library, but I can say–with figures to back it up–that our circulation of ebooks increases every month. The circulation is more than we ever anticipated. As a person who has used ebooks in academia, I foresee their position as only increasing because you are giving multiple students access to information at the same time through a few clicks. Each day, libraries are bringing quality ebooks into their collection, but it also up to librarians to let their community know that they are available. So, in all, I can only see your business growing. Keep a chin up:)

      • Gary Anderson said,

        Thanks for the encouragement Melissa. Because these are students, it seems to argue for a lower price to compete in that market. I have certainly done that. Thanks again.

        Oh, do you have a timeline for the opening of this market?

      • melissabrisbin said,

        I do not have a scientifically-based-data-opinion for the opening for the market, but from my experience, it is growing at the rate that vendors, such as OverDrive, are having a hard time keeping up with the overwhelming demand. I have heard this statement from them directly. They are running around just trying to insure their servers do not crash because the market is really exploding. It is an area that has really begun to open up and the possibilities seem endless.

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