Friday, August 7, 2015

Toronto Library is Developing Book Vending Machine


The Toronto Public Library is developing a book vending machine at Union Station and it should be available by the end of the year. This is the first time something like this has been done in Canada and if its successful more will be rolled out in the future.

The exact logistics have not been worked out yet, but there will be a number of perennial bestsellers available, in addition to DVD’s. The library also has not ruled out the ability to borrow e-books directly from the machine.

Toronto Public Library communications officer Ana-Maria Critchley said “We need to confirm details about location and reach an agreement with Union Station before we can finalize anything about the service that we will be providing, the timing or even the design of the kiosk. There aren’t many details at all that we can share at this point, simply because we don’t know yet.”

Recapping the morning session of day 2 of #DigiP15

The morning began with a moving keynote speech from 16 time bestselling author Jane Green. Jane shared her life story ranging from her early days spent hidden away in libraries all the way through her most recent title, Summer Secrets. Jane discussed some of her favorite “Hollywood” moments when she got to cook a meal for Hugh Grant and how she has ridden in a helicopter with Harrison Ford. Jane shared the source of inspiration for many of her books, how she overcame cancer and engaged in a wonderful question and answer session where she provided insight on her writing process and her love of escaping in her local libraries.


The OverDrive innovation roadmap


After the keynote, Ryan Fish, Director of Product Management at OverDrive, opened a session everyone has been waiting for, OverDrive’s innovation roadmap. Ryan’s message was about the three pillars upon which the new OverDrive is being built. Those pillars revolve around simplifying the onboarding process so first time users can get started more quickly; providing users the ability to be more deeply engaged with titles available from the library; and making sure we’re reaching your entire community. Moving forward libraries will be empowered to easily and regularly promote your brand and your collections.


OverDrive’s Chief Technology Officer, Jeff Sterling, took the stage next to discuss “Project Thunder”, the basis for the new OverDrive. The next version of your OverDrive services come from the feedback we get from our library partners and the desire to re-imagine our platforms. Jeff shared the story of how the new OverDrive prototypes came from OverDrive hackathons and teased the process of where our new vision came from before Michael Haren provided a demo.


Michael walked through the website that will be coming later this year for our library partners showing off the new speed and capabilities by instantly searching and borrowing various titles by using the powerful facets and filters available in the library. We will be offering a number of updates in the near future but the crowd was excited with what was previewed as well as the promises of what more is to come.


Publisher Prospective


The morning conference ended with a spirited and informational publisher round table where representatives from Baker Publishing Group, HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio all spoke about the state of the publishing industry and the ever growing digital library market. These types of forums provide valuable opportunities for librarians to share their thoughts and ideas with publishing partners and to engage with one another.

String pong

If you’re not a daily reader of this website, you might have missed our big news last week: The MagPi, our official magazine, is no longer a download-only magazine; you can now buy or subscribe to a print copy. Lots of you have been sending us photos of your own MagPis. Here’s a small selection; we’ll be publishing some of them in the magazine itself, so keep them coming – you can send them to, or tweet them to .

The camouflaged legs of Peter Williams and a MagPi Allen Heard at the newsagent Sam Aaron's MagPi goes on a picnic

One limitation of the printed magazine is, of course, that we can’t show you videos of the projects inside. Fortunately, we also have this blog. Mike Cook, who is behind Mike’s Pi Bakery, the magazine’s brilliant hardware projects series (not-so-secretly, my favourite bit of the MagPi, and the page I always turn to first), sent me this video of this month’s Pi Bakery build: meet String Pong. Love it. You’ll find a complete tutorial in this month’s magazine.

If you want to try before you buy (and please do buy – every penny The MagPi makes goes straight back into the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s charitable work), a free download of the magazine is always available. You’ll find copies in WHSmith and many other British newsagents; in a couple of weeks, US readers will find The MagPi on the shelves in Microcenter and Barnes & Noble; and readers all over the world can subscribe to receive the magazine on their own doorsteps.



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Barnes and Noble Website Still Experiencing Massive Errors


In late June Barnes and Noble unveiled their new website and immediately there has been a number of glaring errors. Some of them have been fixed, like being able to read e-books with their online reading software, but most haven’t.

The Barnes and Noble Marketplace for 3rd party sellers went down for over two weeks at the beginning of July. The service is still not operational 100%. This is somewhat discouraging to a number of people who sell a lot of items through the service.

One seller told us that Barnes & Noble’s Marketplace for sellers “was STILL not working after a month of their “fixing” it,” and said things had gotten much worse. “I still cannot update OR refund OR even look at my inventory with B&N. I’ve received orders that I had listed were SOLD years ago, but the only answer I get from B&N is, they’re working on the site AND WILL LET ME KNOW WHEN IT IS available!”

Another seller said they hadn’t received payments for sales since June 23rd. “I am a small company. A couple grand may not be a big deal to B&N, but it is to me.”

Not only is the seller program a complete mess, but if you want to pay for an e-book using your giftcard, this system is broken too. One user wrote into us and said “This morning, I logged onto the Barnes and Noble site and placed an order for a Nook book. I had a balance on a B&N gift card to cover the cost of the book. The new website ignored my gift card balance and charged my credit card instead. After speaking to SIX different B&N reps, they realized – during the course of trying to resolve the gift card issue – that the book was never delivered to my library in the first place. Apparently, due to “technical issues” with the new website, it is currently taking “one to two hours” for digital content to be placed in a customer’s library. YES . . a multi-hour delay in delivering Nook books to customers. Not to mention that none of the six representatives I spoke with could resolve the problem with the Nook book being charged to my credit card instead of my gift card. One rep became so frustrated that he finally said he could just “manually deduct” the amount from the gift card . . . which would take one to five days.”

The user went on to say “Another of the six reps actually berated me for not being able to use the new site, until I asked him to walk me through the order process during which he realized that, in fact, the site did incorrectly charge the credit card rather than the gift card. At that point, he just said, “You need to hold on and talk to somebody else.” That person is the one who informed me that Nook content is being delayed for hours. This is the state of B&N customer service these days, apparently.”

Have you guys noticed any other errors with the existing website? Drop a comment below and we will do updates to this post so everyone can be aware of the big issues.