eBook round up

Since the launch of the eLending Portal there have been a number of developments with regards to digital publishing, eReader technology, commercial and library initiated eLending platforms and advocacy initiatives.  

The following online resources provide a brief overview of some of the more interesting developments.


Library Initiated eContent Platforms and publishing initiatives

Douglas County Libraries have announced a partnership with the Spanish Library software company OdiloTID to commercialise their sophisticated bespoke eBook management system.  This in theory would allow public libraries to easily establish the necessary eContent platform infrastructure to host and administer eBook content purchased outright from alternative publishing sources such as Independent publishers and self published authors. 

In May 2013, the Califia Library Group and Contra Costa County Library consortiums announced the official beta launch of a library initiated eContent platform.  The platforms are based on the Douglas County Library solution and business model.   

For a thorough overview of library initiated eContent management platforms and the underlying philosophy behind these initiatives I recommend that you take a look at the Arizona State Library publication the DAZL Report.  The publication investigates the emergence of library initiated eContent platforms, in particular the Douglas County Library bespoke eContent platform.

The report aims to: 

  • identify the key technological elements of the Douglas County model
  • identify technological resources supporting the Douglas County model
  • determine which technological elements are mission critical or optional
  • Provide a snapshot of known current public library and private entities following the Douglas County model
  • Identify strategies, successes and challenges experienced by those using or testing the Douglas model in these terms:
    • What’s working
    • What’s not working
    • Key decisions in the planning process (including options that were considered and 
    • rejected)
    • Budgets
    • Legal issues
    • Additionally, the consultant will gather and report collection development policies, plans or statements from those willing to share


Provincetown Public Press is a digital publishing initiative of the Provincetown Public Library.  Utilising innovative new design and publishing software, the Provincetown Public Press will enable both authors and artists a low-cost solution to distributing their work utilizing iBook and EPUB formats.  On a similar theme,  Jamie LaRue explores the concept of library as a publisher in the American Libraries magazine E-content Digital Supplement June 2013.


Hachette announced that it will make the full catalogue of eBook titles available to libraries for eLending through the vendors OverDrive, 3m, and Baker and Taylor.  New eBooks will be released simultaneously with print books under a business model which permits: one copy one loan and unlimited circulations.  New titles will be sold under library specific pricing which is set at approximately three times the standard consumer retail price for new books and drops by half after the year anniversary of the titles publication. 

The Science Fiction and Fantasy publisher TOR books, announced that the decision over a year ago to sell eBook titles with no DRM has had little to no impact of book sales.  The company will therefore continue to sell eBook titles DRM free in order to allow their customers to use purchased content in legitimate ways, such as moving the titles onto a diverse range of eReading divices.

On October 2013 Baker and Taylor announced that the entire eBook backlist (11,000+ titles) are now available to clients of the Axis 360 library eBook platform.  The cost per title will be $25 and the library can lend the books for up to two years or 52 times, whichever comes first, before the access license must be renewed.  

The Random House and Penguin merger became reality at the beginning of July, 2013.  Previously the two publishing companies offered divergent eLending business models to public libraries (please refer to the Publishing section of the eLending portal for an overview).    At the time of writing this post the two business models continue to be offered for titles published under the two imprints.

Graphic novels are proving to be a popular format in public libraries amongst children and teens.  At the recent American libraries Conference the digital vendor Iverse Media launched a digital Graphic Novel eContent lending platform  for libraries: Comic Plus Library Edition.  For more information please refer to a recent interview with Josh Elder from Iview Media Director at the ALA vendor show. 



The push by the ReadersFirst coalition for aggregators to provide deep integration API's to facilitate a unified discovery and download process within any given Integrated Library Management System continues to gain traction.  In April 2013, OverDrive announced the development of a deep API for the Innovative Interfaces ILMS.


E-Ink holdings, the company which developed the e-Ink screen technology recently announced a new screen technology called E Ink Mobious.   Mobious screen technology is a flexible screen which is lighter and more durable than previous E Ink screens. 
In May Amazon announced that it would implement new accessibility features into the Kindle reading app 

Advocacy and general eLending information resources

In May NSW.net was invited to present at the ALIA eBooks and elending Think Tank held at the State Library of New South Wales.  It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from Library and Information colleagues from across a diverse range of library environments, ranging from public, specialist and educational libraries.  The key elending issues were discussed and the ALIA draft set of key principles for the procurement and use of eBooks in Australian Libraries was unveiled.  The presentation papers, Key Principles paper and other related documents are available on the ALIA website.  

The State Library of Western Australia maintains an informative blog which reports on advocacy and outreach efforts  research, and initiatives of libraries and library organisations relating to the supply of ebooks to libraries and library patrons.
Ellyssa Kroski, editor of the Tech Set 10 book library technology series has compiled a list of 68 online resources (articles, blogs etc) to assist library staff to make informed decisions about implementing eBooks in your library.
The ALA has launched Authors for Library Ebooks, a new campaign that asks authors to stand with libraries in their push for equitable access to ebooks.