Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Rise of Digital Audio in the Public Library


There was a time not too long ago that the only way to listen to audiobooks was to borrow a CD or tape from your local library. They degraded with use and most often were a victim of theft, due to its high value nature. In the last five years digital audio content has made things so much more accessible and is a rising force in US based libraries.

Audiobook publishing is certainly starting to be big business for major publishers and companies involved in distributing the content. In 2007 a paltry 3,073 digital titles were available and rose exponentially to over 20,000 published titles in 2013. The entire industry is said to be worth over two billion dollars, which is a huge jump from $480 million selling tapes and cassette in 1997.

There are a number of major players providing audio services to libraries,  3M Cloud Library, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla and Overdrive. For the most part, these are the exact same companies that provide the libraries e-Book portfolio. In the US, 95% of all libraries have a digital collection and audio content is starting to play a more central role.

Audiobooks actually works fairly differently than e-Books do, on a business level. Many of the top distributors lean on 3rd parties for a full catalog of content. 3M and Baker and Taylor both get their audio editions from Findaway World, which is current market leader in production. Findaway has a catalog of over 50,000 titles and maintains production studios, narrators and crew in New York. Overdrive has their own internal solution, where they approach publishers directly and don’t do business with companies such as Audible or Findaway World.

Tom Mercer, Marketing Manager of 3M Cloud Library said “we see a tremendous opportunity to grow in the Audio space in 2015. Right now we’re two weeks into the “real world” of Audio, but customers really seem to like our solution. Our initial Beta feedback from very positive.”

Hoopla is an audiobook solution for libraries that floats under the radar, but are quickly making a name for themselves. The company has a catalog of 13,000 titles with 1,000 added each month. Hoopla deals with over 100 libraries in the US and charges no licensing fees with setting up the system, which is quite appealing to the average library. How does Hoopla make money? The company has employed the Pay Per Use model, which only charges the library when a specific title is checked out by a patron. Librarians can establish a weekly or monthly threshold, so they can ensure they will not go over budget. This financial model works for Hoopla because they can promote their entire catalog, while curating the bestsellers on the main page, so finding quality content is ridiculously easy.

Audiobooks are certainly finding their grove in libraries, but one of the big challenges is that the audio editions are not released at the same time as the print or e-Book versions. Library staff and patrons need to be aware of this issue. In addition, digital audiobooks often have some fairly high costs, compared to digital books. The average price of a new audiobook is between $30 to $60.

How well are the publishers doing in the audiobook sector? Cheryl Herman, marketing director for Penguin Random House's Books on Tape & Listening Library said. "Our library sales for digital audio are up nearly 30% over 2013, we're offering more and more titles on audio, and we're not alone in that. There are also more players entering the market, and more titles overall being published than ever before."

When it comes down to audio in libraries, certainly audiobooks are not the only game in town. PressReader offers a vast catalog of over 4,000 newspapers and magazines with audio functionality. Using the companies app for Android or iOS every article can be read aloud, giving people the ability to stay current in local, regional and international news. This certainly appeals to people with vision problems or other disabilities.

In the end, the biggest trend in libraries in 2014 has been the adoption of audiobooks in Canada, US and United Kingdom. Likely, in 2015 international expansion will be a pressing concern, as libraries based in Europe, Australia and New Zealand will want to get in a piece of the action.

The Rise of Digital Audio in the Public Library is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Ultimate e-Reader – Round Table Discussion


e-Readers have come a long way since the original Kindle was unveiled in 2007. e-Books have drastically altered the way we read and many bookstores have went out of business because their once loyal customer bought a Kobo.

There are hundreds of e-readers that have come out in the last few years, some have offered some very innovative features, but the vast majority have been “me too” products. We asked the question last week, what features should the ultimate e-reader have? Thousands of people listed to the podcast and commented on what their ideal device would comprise of.

Today, Michael and Peter discuss their ideal e-reader. Jointly they have reviewed over 100 different models since 2008 and really have a sense on the types of features the public would want. In an epic 40 minute extravaganza you can get schooled on the history of e-readers and e-paper.

The Ultimate e-Reader – Round Table Discussion is a post from: Good e-Reader

Thalia Bookstores are in Serious Trouble


Thalia is the largest bookstore chain in Germany with over 300 locations and is facing some serious problems. Sales are at record lows due to stiff competition from Amazon and for the last few months an investment bank has been exploring opportunities to sell the retail chain to another buyer.

The parent company of Thalia, Douglas has commissioned investment bank Macquarie to explore options to sell the company. The price tag was apparently too high for anyone to outright purchase the bookstore chain and is now off the market.

Thalia is going to undergo a restructuring and modernization program that will transform the retail experience. Most of their stores are dull and drab. Bookselling today is about bright lighting, friendly staff, cleverly designed bookcases that display new hardbacks, an espresso coffee machine behind the checkout counter and many unbookish things such as novelty items, jigsaws, games, children's toys, Paddington bears, greetings cards and upmarket stationery. Bookstores in the UK and US are not all about books anymore, but they have transformed into lifestyle stores. In order for Thalia to fend off e-Books and Amazon, they need to change.

Thalia Bookstores are in Serious Trouble is a post from: Good e-Reader

eBook Subscription Service Bookmate Launches in Asia


Bookmate, the leading social ebook reading service, is available in Singapore. Boasting a comprehensive library of over 500,000 ebooks from 600 publishers, Bookmate empowers reading fans to search, discover, interact and read as much as they want, wherever they are.

Available at a flat monthly fee of SGD 9.98, the service offers books from major publishers such as HarperCollins, Head of Zeus, Profile Books, Serpent's Tail and others.

As part of its international expansion efforts, Bookmate is exclusively partnering Singapore's fully-integrated info-communications provider StarHub to introduce its book-streaming service to the local reading community and engage local publishers to offer their books on the platform.

Simon Dunlop, Founder of Bookmate, said, "Our mission is to make reading easy, accessible and fun for everyone with a smart phone. By expanding into Singapore, we have made a significant first step in increasing Bookmate's footprint in Southeast Asia and thanks to our partnership with StarHub and their highly engaged customers we will be able to reach millions of new readers."

Michael Sim, Lead Futurist–Entertainment of i3 (Innovation, Investment, Incubation), StarHub, said, "Singapore consumers are fast growing accustomed to getting easy access to an unfettered catalogue of premium online content, for instance, video and music streaming, across multiple devices for a flat monthly fee. This advancement is changing the way people consume content, and we believe the time is ripe to bring this same convenience to book fans, providing a timely boost to Singapore's ebook scene. Through our partnership with Bookmate, local readers can now enjoy unlimited access to Bookmate's vast collection of ebooks through its comprehensive association with leading publishers."

Bookmate's move into Singapore follows its agreement with HarperCollins, announced earlier this year, which saw Bookmate add hundreds of new authors to the service. This announcement also marks Bookmate's first foray into Asia-Pacific. Bookmate currently has over 1.5 million active monthly users in countries including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, U.S. and Germany.

The Bookmate app, available for free download on Apple App Store, Good e-Reader and Windows Store, includes a social feed that allows users to follow their friends, favorite authors and celebrities on Bookmate, while also sharing their favorite books and passages. The service is also available through a supported web browser

eBook Subscription Service Bookmate Launches in Asia is a post from: Good e-Reader

Another way to reach and engage new users

If you visited over the weekend you may have noticed that the website got a makeover. Now users can engage with their libraries instantly. When new users go to the website now the first thing they'll come across is the ability to locate their library and its digital collection. When they click the "Find libraries near you" button the website will show a map of the closest libraries. Users can also choose to find libraries by zip code.




Manage your library information and add social links

When users select their library, they will be shown a link to the digital collection. Libraries can add various social links as well to provide map 2deeper engagement with patrons. To add social media pages, library card information and even a donation link simply follow these directions:

  1. Log into OverDrive Marketplace. If you don’t have access, please contact your library’s OverDrive administrator.
  2. Select your library or school name in the upper-right corner and then select Library information (or School information).
  3. In the new window, select your library or branch name, then add or edit the information that you’d like displayed in the OverDrive app and on You can also set the default information for all members and branches by selecting “Set Defaults.” Be sure to keep this information up to date at all times.
  4. Save and verify your information.

On users can also check out the new Explore page to browse numerous collections and sample titles just like in the physical library. These updates are designed to drive new patrons to your digital collection and help you better engage with them. With all the new improvements at be sure to update your collection to accommodate the influx of new customers. Don't forget about our Holiday Spectacular Sale going on right now as well. This is the perfect time to add new titles to prepare for the holiday surge in traffic!

Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive


Browser-based audiobooks coming soon!

We’re excited to announce that in early 2015 OverDrive browser-based audiobooks will enable your users to instantly listen to audiobooks without needing to download the file or our app. These titles provide maximum ease of use for patrons as they can simply find the audiobook they want to listen to, borrow it and begin listening right away. Browser-based audiobooks will join OverDrive Read and streaming video as the easiest ways to enjoy digital media from the library, all on your OverDrive digital library website.

All of your MP3 audiobooks will also be automatically available as browser-based audiobooks as an additional format option: Download using the app or listen instantly in your browser. So now is the best time to stock up on audiobooks, during the biggest content sale of the year! Shop now, and stock up on great audiobook titles from HarperCollins, Tantor Media, Books on Tape, Blackstone Audio and more.

Here are some of the great sales lists you can find in Marketplace:

Recent releases
Most popular
Children’s and young adult
All audiobooks on sale


**Title availability may vary by geographic location**


XmasPiLights from Reading College

Over in Reading, there’s a rather special Christmas tree.

Reading College holds a week called “Go Further” every year, where students are encouraged to go beyond their curriculum to create ambitious projects. This year’s students decided to make a Christmas techno-tree from steel they milled themselves, a 3D-printed star they designed themselves, and string after string of LEDs, all hooked up to social media so people around the world could activate the star at the top.

Here’s a time-lapse of the tree’s creation:

And here’s the tree being built and tested.

You can see a live stream of the tree at – and most importantly, you can make the 3D-printed star at the top twinkle by using the hashtag #XmasPiLights on Twitter, Instagram or Google+.

Thanks to our friends at Energenie for sponsoring this project. We’re off to Twitter to make some stars twinkle.

PressReader Now Offers 1,000 Digital Magazines


A number of years ago when the iPad became popular, the digital magazine scene was bright and vibrant. A number of companies were leading the download charts and inclusive apps that gave you access to hundreds of publications became standard.  When Apple unveiled their Newsstand, companies started developing their own apps to offer unique experiences. Instead of relying on companies like Zinio for distribution, they decided to do it themselves. One of the last magazine companies still standing is PressReader and they just hit a major milestone.

PressReader has just announced that they have they have attained 1,000 magazines.  Condé Nast International France has joined PressReader, adding favorite titles – including Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ and Glamour – to their growing list of  top publications like T3, Martha Stewart Living, Men's Health, Inside Golf, Elle Italia and many more.

In terms of digital magazine distribution, PressReader does things a little bit differently than their competition. On the consumer level they sell a subscription package that gives customers access to over 3,500 newspapers and magazines from 100 countries in 80 different languages.  Instead of paying per issue, you can basically read and download as much as you want for a low monthly price. The company also leverages their portfolio directly to libraries, airlines, cruise ships and hotels.

Most of the digital players still in the game normally use proxy services when they market their treasure trove of content to libraries or other sectors. Zinio for example deals with Recorded Books to market their content to libraries, whereas Next Issue and Magzter simply focuses on consumers and not B2B.

I think the one thing PressReader has done really well is establish a strong branding message, no matter what space they are selling magazines and newspapers in. They do everything themselves, without having to lean on 3rd parties to do the marketing for them.

PressReader Now Offers 1,000 Digital Magazines is a post from: Good e-Reader