23 March 2012

Grant writing help needed

GMLC did not receive the Vermont Dept. of Libraries Winnie Belle Grant for Children's downloadable audio books & eBooks this year.  I would like to thank Virgil Fuller for his work on this grant.  GMLC would like to pursue other grant opportunities for downloadable content and are asking for volunteers to help with the grant writing.  Please contact me or Judy Russell if you are able to help.  Thank you!  Mary Danko  vtaudiobooks [at] gmail.com

22 March 2012

ListenUp!Vermont Facts and Figures

To follow up our post last week about library e-books and GMLC, I want to share a few fun facts about our collection and how it is currently being used. I am happy to post such information on a regular basis if you find it illuminating and/or useful.

Here are some statistics gleaned from ContentReserve about ListenUp!Vermont's collection of e-books and audios:

Total # of purchased e-books in the collection: 1979
Total # of purchased audios in the collection: 1460
(Note that this does not include the Always Available titles)

Total # of unique patrons checking out titles: 17,343 (current: 1153)
Total # of checkouts to date: 132,009 (current: 1884)

Total # of checkouts for February 2012: 6219
Of those, # of e-books: 3102; # of audiobooks: 3117

For eye-popping comparison,
Total  # of checkouts for February 2010: 1746
Ttotal # of checkouts for February 2011: 3209
(And no, I don't think this leap year accounts for the jump! :)

# of titles added in February 2012: 61 (not all unique titles, some are additional titles of ones already purchased, to meet demand)

Top 5 Checkouts Overall for February 2012
Caleb's Crossing, Brooks (audio)
Comfort Food, Jacobs (audio)
Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky (audio)
Explosive Eighteen, Evanovich (audio)
First Drop of Crimson, Frost (audio)

Top 5 E-book Checkouts for February 2012
The Litigators, Grisham
Explosive Eighteen, Evanovich
The Next Always, Roberts
The Help, Stockett
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Larsson

These lists are not the entire story, however. We need to take into consideration the number of holds a book has to determine its popularity and importance to the collection as well. Thus,

Top 5 Holds Overall for February 2012
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Foer (e-book)
Hunger Games, Collins (audio)
The Drop, Connelly (audio)
Mockingjay, Collins (audio)
The Anatomist's Apprentice, Harris (audio)

In response to high demand for specific content, the ListenUp!Vermont coordinator determines which titles to buy in multiple and which to leave at a single copy. This is determined by a highly unscientific algorithm of price, genre, author, and gut feeling. For instance, We have been able to purchase 5 copies of the audio version of Hunger Games because of its phenomenal popularity. (I don't know about you, but my adult patrons seem to be just discovering the series and are checking it out with more frequency than the teens now.) With the unexpected demand for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (due in part to the movie, I suspect, and maybe to its being assigned in high schools), we were able to be proactive and purchase 6 copies, because they are available from Houghton Mifflin for a mere $14.95 a pop.

We have been less able to meet demand on books like Susan Cain's nonfiction title Quiet because Random House is charging $78.00 per e-book and $74.00 per audio. It is difficult to predict how long the interest will remain on a title like this and how much ought to be invested. As of today, we own one e-book and two audio versions of the book. Today, there are 18 holds on the e-book and 2 on the audio. Tricky, right?

And then there are the publishers we've mentioned who are selling only single copies of popular books like Patterson's Don't Blink, which currently has 20 holds. Hachette Digital will not sell more than one copy to libraries. As Mary has emphasized, letting the publishers know how this impacts your library is important.

The longest waits are for Kindle users, simply because of the ubiquity of the device. There are more Kindle users overall. It might be helpful for you to remind your Kindle users that they can return content early by going to their Amazon account>Kindle>Manage Your Kindle>Your Kindle Library>Actions. That could have a positive impact on the wait periods.

I would encourage you to look frequently at your ContentReserve account at Overdrive (let me know if you need login information) and see what your library's statistics are. Communicate with your patrons about what's popular, what's new, and what's available. My experience is that many eager patrons are not fully adept at how to work the ListenUp! site to thier best advantage--e.g., searching for only currently available titles to reduce frustration, joining wait lists even if the number of holds is intimidating (many people cancel their holds and the queue moves along faster than you would guess), and considering a different format for the same title, if they have the technology.

I hope you have found this helpful. If there are other facts or numbers you're curious about, leave me a comment and I will respond as quickly as I can.

~Judy Russell
ListenUp!Vermont Coordinator
Director, Fairlee Public Library

18 March 2012

Library eBooks: Some things to know & think about

*Please excuse any cross postings
Some things to know about the Ebooks GMLC gets from Overdrive…

1.  The eBooks we get from Overdrive are Library Ebooks.
This means several things.  One is that we have purchased a license to the eBook to loan out to our patrons.  The publishers decide how that license & loan works (this can include issues surrounding the checkout, like being checked back in early, etc.) .  This is often referred to as DRM-Digital Rights Management.  Overdrive negotiates with the publishers and then the book is available for us to buy the license through Overdrive.

There are now all different kinds of licenses that have been negotiated.  The majority are the “one book, one checkout” type.  This means that per each license we own, a patron can check that out 1 loan period at a time…just like a book.  We also have the Harper Collins license of which we buy 26 checkouts at a time.  The Harry Potter books that are coming out are a “one book, one checkout” model however, the license expires in 5 years.  We may see new kinds of licensing in the future…it is difficult to tell right now.

2. Not all publishers will work with Overdrive.
Since the beginning Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan Publishing have NEVER offered a Library eBook.  In the recent months, Penguin has pulled out from Overdrive and will no longer offer Library eBooks.  We have some Penguin titles grandfathered in, but transferring these to a Kindle can be an arduous process and these titles cannot be returned early.

3. The pricing for eBooks from Overdrive range from $ 9.00 to $ 100.00
There has just been a huge increase from Random House for Library eBooks, which has caused the Library eBook price range to jump considerably.  It is difficult to pinpoint what kinds of books command what kind of prices.  It has certainly made our purchasing process challenging.

4.  GMLC is always considering on the best way to build our eBook collection.
All the changes in the last few months have been challenging to say the least!  We have increased the amount of copies we buy to our Holds ratio for eBooks to 7 to 1.  However, we want to make sure our budget lasts through the year so we are continually monitoring it.  Also when it comes to popular fiction we have to think hard (just like you do for your print collection) what will happen if we buy 12 copies of the latest David Baldacci?  It will be popular and fly off the website the first months, but then will slowly become a less wanted title.  We try to be thoughtful about our purchases in terms of meeting demand and thinking of building a long term collection.

What can you do as a member of GMLC when it comes to Library eBooks?

1.  Please keep informed on the topic and help to educate your trustees, staff & patrons on how Library eBooks work.  We will try and keep you up to date through our blog and email list, but we highly recommend you subscribe to the Overdrive blog.  Also reading industry news on the topic of eBooks, and all eContent (downloadable audios, downloadable music, downloadable movies ) for libraries is very helpful.

2.  Please speak up to publishers.  Publishers control much of how our Library eBook process operates.  Right now it seems as if they do not value the library market very much.  We can advocate for our libraries and our patrons by communicating to publishers why reasonable access to eContent is important.

3.  Consider volunteering for GMLC.  We are able to put most of our money towards platform fees and content because so much of what we do is done by volunteers.  We imagine that over 60 volunteer hours a month are donated towards just the ListenUp! Vermont project.  Our other projects probably have over another 60 hours of volunteer time per month.

4.  Think about the future of eContent for your library and what that means.  GMLC always works to keep fees low, but an increase in demand for eBooks will mean an increase in costs.  Look at your budget and usage closely.  We now have a committee that is looking closely at the 3M Cloud project for eBooks.  We look forward to reporting to you on that.

5.  And as always, please keep us informed on your thoughts and suggestions.

Thank you!
Mary Danko & Judy Russell

16 March 2012

Overdrive Marketing Outreach Resources


The following resources will help you promote your download service inside and outside the library. Click on each link to see samples.

Best Pratices Web Graphics:
Place a link on your library's homepage and online catalog to direct customers to your download website.

Promotional Resources:
Get the word out by distributing and displaying materials in the high traffic areas of your library and around your community.

Public Relations:
Promote your download service in a press release, email to staff and customers, or an article in your newsletter.

Best Practices Handbook:
Learn how OverDrive libraries around the world are maximizing the value of their service with examples of successful collection development, staff training and promotional efforts.

01 March 2012

3M Cloud Committee

I am looking for folks who are interested in serving on a committee to explore the 3M Cloud product.  We will meet virtually using GoToMeeting.  If you are interested, please contact me at HartlandDir [at] vermontel [dot] net   Mary   *Please excuse any cross postings.