All posts by NSR Editorial

Ebook models in K-12 libraries: The options, the issues, the possibilities

This NSR original three-part series on ebooks in K-12 or school libraries (written and researched by Peyton Stafford, an expert on school library-oriented publishing ) is intended for school librarians who want a basic understanding of how ebook business models work in their world and how to make them work as much as possible to the librarian’s advantage.

The first article looks at business models and their importance, and then sketches out the main kinds of ebook business models that K-12 librarians have to deal with. The second article looks at the models in more depth and give examples of how they work in practice. It also discusses platform issues. The third article draws a few conclusions and points out some ways that librarians can skillfully use their knowledge of ebook business models to stretch their budgets and better serve their teachers and students.

After reading the three articles listed below, school librarians should be able to recognize the business model that goes with any particular ebook offering they may be evaluating. This will help them compare offerings so they can make wise decisions as they acquire and manage their ebook collections.


Odilo solidifies its North American presence with new offerings and features

According to a recent press release, Odilo—a privately-held Spanish and US-based company that offers innovative ebook and econtent solutions for libraries worldwide—has seen notable growth in recent months, with 140% increase in new customers and close to a 500% increase in new publishing partners.

For those not familiar with Odilo’s suite of products, here are the newest offerings and features, which were highlighted at this year’s American Library Association conference in Chicago:

    • Over 18,000 Pay-per-Use (PpU) eAudiobook titles allow libraries to build an eAudiobook collection for a minimal investment. ODILO currently offers over 250,000 PpU eBooks, eAudiobook, and streaming video, with new titles ingested daily.
    • Streaming offline reading functionality allows end-users to read without an Internet connection or the ODILO app (available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Kindle Fire).

Continue reading Odilo solidifies its North American presence with new offerings and features

STM, trade and education industry leaders offer perspectives on digital transformation in publishing

Frankfurter Buchmesse‘s white paper, Industry Leaders’ Perspectives on the Digital Transformation Journey in Publishing, is based on interviews with leaders from the STM, Education and Trade sectors. The objective was to gain insights regarding five core elements in the digital transformation journey: Content Storage, Metadata, Content Agility, Discoverability and Collaboration. The interviews were conducted in early 2017 and include senior leaders holding “C-Suite,” Vice-President and Director+ positions.

The full PDF may be downloaded here. Some highlights below.

On how publishers are progressing with digital transformation

  • Half of the interviewees believe their current transformation efforts were ‘on par’ relative to peers in the publishing industry.
  • STM organizations cited significant investments in 3 of the 5 transformational areas over the past few years, bolstering their claim to “lead” the rest of the industry.
  • Conversely, over 30 percent of Trade and 50 percent  of EDU respondents feel that their companies are lagging the industry on the transformation journey.
  • 50 percent of publishers interviewed are looking for ways to replace declining revenues from print and advertising, with 41 percent  looking to new product options.

Continue reading STM, trade and education industry leaders offer perspectives on digital transformation in publishing

Meet RBdigital, a new app that makes audiobooks, ebooks and magazines available in one location

One of the most interesting products unveiled at this year’s American Library Association conference in Chicago (held in late June), was Recorded Books’ RBdigital app, which brings together three content types into a single application: ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. RBdigital essentially merges two existing apps into one: OneClickdigital and Zinio for Libraries. With this move, Recorded Books raises the bar higher for all ebook players catering to libraries.

Press release below.

Recorded Books, an RBmedia company, has announced the launch of RBdigital™ — bringing together libraries’ top-circulating digital media into a single mobile app. The functionality in both OneClickdigital™ and Zinio™ for Libraries — two leading library lending apps currently in use by thousands of libraries around the world — is now seamlessly merged into the new RBdigital app.

“We’re proud to be the first to make audiobooks, magazines, and eBooks available in one location on mobile devices,” says Tom MacIsaac, Chief Executive Officer of RBmedia. “This new unified app provides the best mobile experience in the industry. With RBdigital, library patrons will find it easier than ever before to discover and access their favorite content on their smartphones and tablets.” Continue reading Meet RBdigital, a new app that makes audiobooks, ebooks and magazines available in one location

Ingram acquires Book Network Int’l Limited, international print and ebook distributor

With this move, Ingram expands its UK footprint. Full press release below:

NASHVILLE, TENN. June 30, 2017 – Ingram Publisher Services LLCan operating unit of Ingram Content Group, has acquired Book Network Int’l Limited (“NBNi”); an international physical and digital book distributor, based in the UK.  NBNi’s client service business will stand alongside Ingram’s wide range of digital, physical and print-on-demand solutions to create a premier global services offering. Continue reading Ingram acquires Book Network Int’l Limited, international print and ebook distributor

ALA and NSR will launch a new eCourse on ebooks in July; registration now open

ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions has recently announced a new iteration of its popular eCourse, Understanding E-Books: All You Need to Know Now and for the Future. NSR’s Mirela Roncevic will serve as the instructor for this 4-week facilitated eCourse starting on July 10, 2017.

More information below or on ALA’s site.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 24
Certificate of Completion available upon request

After completing this eCourse, you will understand:

  • The basics of how e-books function and their place in the current publishing marketplace
  • How e-books are currently being used in libraries, including circulation and lending policies
  • The key issues that librarians are likely to face with e-books in the future

The popularity of e-books exploded with the emergence of tablets and e-readers like the Kindle and has risen steadily ever since. For librarians, this growth has meant the development of a new area of service and content delivery. For the librarian who is new to e-books and e-readers, this can be intimidating. Where do you start? How can you learn what you need to know to provide the services that your patrons expect?

Mirela Roncevic has been involved with e-books and e-readers since their emergence, and in this new eCourse she’ll give you the foundation you need to make e-books work for your library and your career. Requiring no prior knowledge of e-books, this eCourse will sketch in their history while showing you how they function in libraries, exploring issues ranging from file formats to delivery mechanisms and lending policies and what they mean for libraries both now and in the future. Continue reading ALA and NSR will launch a new eCourse on ebooks in July; registration now open

Libraries in New York City launch Subway Library, a new initiative that provides subway riders with free access to ebooks

Subway riders in New York will now be able to read free ebooks. It’s all orchestrated by the city’s three main library systems. Good for them. They certainly have the funds to do it (especially the NYPL), and this is long overdue.

But allow me to add: Croatia Reads was the ultimate scenario of an open virtual library — a Free Reading Zone in the truest sense. What we pulled off in Croatia last December took the idea of an open virtual library and free access to books and knowledge to new heights. It was THE ULTIMATE scenario. Let us still strive for that scenario. Let us not forget that millions of people around the world do not have access to NYPL and do not live in affluent areas. We opened an entire country for reading, and the collection wasn’t limited to a small number of titles. It was vast and relevant. And it was bigger than libraries. Because ebooks transcend libraries. They transcend borders and time zones, too.

Still, kudos to New York. This is a step in the right direction.–Ed.

Just in:

“We’re excited to announce the launch of Subway Library, a new initiative between The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library, the MTA, and Transit Wireless that provides subway riders in New York City with free access to hundreds of e-books, excerpts, and short stories—all ready to read on the train.

As part of the Subway Library celebration, don’t miss the specially wrapped “Library Train,” with the interior designed to look like NYPL’s Rose Main Reading Room! The train will alternate running on the E and F lines, running through Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.

How to Access the Subway Library
To access the Subway Library, MTA customers in underground subway stations can connect to the free TransitWirelessWiFi through their network settings and click on the prompt to start reading from a large selection of titles for all ages. The site was developed with the same technology we used to create our free SimplyE e-reader app.”

Read more here.


Self-publishing platform Pronoun adds Overdrive and Bibliotheca, expanding distribution to libraries for indie authors

Just in:

Pronoun, a self-publishing platform for easy ebook design, distribution, and marketing, now includes library distribution.

NEW YORK — June 7, 2017 — Pronoun today announced the addition of library distributors OverDrive and Bibliotheca to its retail distribution, which includes Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Google Play.

Authors are now able to add OverDrive and Bibliotheca as distributors when publishing on Pronoun, adding their ebook to catalogs from which over 20,000 libraries can purchase for circulation.

Library distribution expands Pronoun’s already easy-to-use self-publishing platform including free ebook conversion, Author Pages, book tracking, data-powered marketing tools, and one-stop distribution across all major ebook retailers.  Authors can set their own price for books distributed in library catalogs and can earn 70% royalties. Continue reading Self-publishing platform Pronoun adds Overdrive and Bibliotheca, expanding distribution to libraries for indie authors

Ten sites that give free access to quality ebooks librarians and publishers should know about [readers, too]

Since launching the Free Content Alerts column, which highlights sites and platforms where ebooks and econtent may be downloaded and read for free, we’ve brought to our readers’ attention 10 great sites to recommend to anyone looking for quality content online in digital format, particularly those unable to access quality ebooks through their local libraries, ranging from classics to professional literature and from popular fiction to scholarly monographs.

These are the ten sources highlighted thusfar on NSR.

Open Culture, a mission to collect the content that is free and [arguably] the ‘best in class’, an alternative niche for free quality content (including ebooks) in the arts and humanities, an ebooks site that functions like a true participatory democracy

Knowledge Unlatched, supported by libraries, and made available in pdf to any reader, anywhere in the world

Hathitrust Digital Library, a major source of open scholarship with legal issues seemingly behind it

Smashwords, where indie authors may price their books at ‘free,’ but ‘free’ isn’t the core mission

World Public Library, an impressive collection of free books and documents but a cumbersome registration process

Internet Archive, a nonprofit offering an overwhelming amount of free content (and triggering some copyright debates)

B-OK (formerly Bookzz), probably the world’s largest free ebook site with a minimally-invasive registration process

Project Gutenberg, public domain titles free to be read and re-distributed in the U.S. (but not necessarily throughout the world)

Flood victims in Peru receive free ebooks to continue their education [via ODILO]

From an Odilo press release:

ODILO, the Spanish startup tech/eBook company, will provide all children in Peru with free technology due to the horrible floods that wreaked havoc there at the end of March. ODILO allows for the management, distribution, consumption, auditing, and preservation of all types of digital content (eBooks, audio, video, images, documents, etc.).

The floods primarily impacted the northwest coastal region of Piura, where a third of the population was harmed. In total, over 134 thousand homes were damaged and more than 600 thousand people were affected by the floods. As most of the roads are ruined, over 200,000 children are not able to get to school. The ODILO platform will provide students with access to their necessary materials and other educational content, so they can continue to learn while the country works to repair itself. Continue reading Flood victims in Peru receive free ebooks to continue their education [via ODILO]

OverDrive to offer Cost-per-Circ model for [some] ebooks and audiobooks to schools and libraries

Later in 2017, libraries and schools working with OverDrive will see a new option for purchasing eBooks and audiobooks: Cost-per-Circulation (CPC). As stated by OverDrive: “This addition enables any school or library to provide a patron-driven acquisition (PDA) model to select titles from [the OverDrive] catalog. CPC joins other PDA models in OverDrive’s catalog including Recommend to Library and Demand-Driven Acquisition. Based on a popular model in academic markets, OverDrive has offered Cost-per-Circ for some of its Streaming Video suppliers since 2013. Libraries and schools that select content available under the CPC model will only incur a charge when a reader borrows a title.”

Simon & Schuster Audio, Baker Publishing and Lerner Publishing are among the first to provide libraries and schools additional options via OverDrive.

This shows signs of maturity on the part of the publishers participating, and is a step in the right direction for OverDrive.  CPC model is in a way a stepping stone to the model that holds a lot of promise for public libraries: pay-as-they-read (the model that removes the idea of borrowing/lending from the equation entirely and empowers libraries to simply enable as much reading/listening as possible).

Read more on OverDrive’s blog.

Scribd adds the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian

Content types in digital format continue to co-exist across platforms. Scribd just added major newspapers to its collection of ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines.

From a Scribd PR:

Scribd, the premiere digital reading subscription service that provides monthly access to the best books, audiobooks, magazines, and documents, is setting a new standard within the premium digital reading space with the addition of select articles from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian, as well as select archive content from the Financial Times. Scribd is further supercharging its news portfolio with the addition of articles from more than a dozen top-tier news brands including NPR and ProPublica.  

The expansion is tied to Scribd’s mission of helping readers become their most knowledgeable and informed selves. Scribd is debuting major platform enhancements led by an overall cosmetic redesign and enhanced recommendation tools designed to better showcase news articles alongside Scribd’s existing selection of books, audiobooks, and magazines. Continue reading Scribd adds the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian

Digital Public Library of America Launching Ebook Pilot

This just in from DPLA:

This is the second in a series of updates about DPLA’s work to maximize access to ebooks. Check out the first post in this series introducing DPLA’s plans.

* * *

At DPLAfest this past April, the DPLA Board of Directors approved a plan to move forward with an ebook pilot aimed at improving access to a broad selection of open and licensed ebooks through market-based methods. We at DPLA are evaluating what we could potentially do from a community and technology perspective to help libraries maximize patron access to ebooks and other e-content. Through the pilot, set to launch in early fall, DPLA will manage technology solutions for 3-5 large public libraries and consortia.

First, some background: US libraries began providing ebooks through OverDrive in 2004. Since then, library ebooks have been provided through siloed, vertically integrated systems in which users can discover and borrow books from a given vendor only in that vendor’s website and apps. In 2012, a group of frustrated library leaders mobilized to form Readers First to fight for a better user experience for their patrons. This grassroots movement has advocated with some success for more open systems and empowered libraries to demand more from e-content vendors. These innovative, library-driven efforts have also led to multiple IMLS-funded grant projects moving us closer to the vision of a national digital platform. Continue reading Digital Public Library of America Launching Ebook Pilot

NSR Presents: Ebooks & Tourism — A Passport to Heaven

NSR is pleased to announce that NSR’s Mirela Roncevic will be a keynote presenter at the Tourism in Southern and Eastern Europe Conference in Opatija, Istria on May 4th, 2017. The presentation, titled Ebooks & Tourism: A Passport to Heaven, is strongly aligned with the Conference’s focus on ways in which the Tourism sector can parter with creative industries through innovative ideas and projects.

Mirela’s presentation will center on her Free Reading Zones efforts, explain the benefits of a society in which open virtual libraries thrive beyond physical libraries and zero in on ways in which the Tourism industry can join forces with the Publishing and Library industries to tap into the potential of ebooks to transform the world from one where readers must go to ‘knowledge’ to the one where knowledge comes to readers.

Mirela will invite the attendees to consider turning physical spaces as small as cafes and hotels and as big as cities and countries into Free Reading Zones, where visitors, tourists, and residents can have access to free books via reading apps (supported by private and government sponsors and in cooperation with publishers and libraries).

Roncevic founded and now directs the Free Reading Zones Project, which brings developers, publishers, and sponsors together to turn public and private spaces into zones where people have free and uninterrupted access to books, so that individuals all over the world, regardless of their location, status or education background, can be empowered through knowledge. The culmination of  her FREZ efforts was the turning of the entire country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone this past December.

The presentation will be streamed live on Facebook and later archived on NSR for future viewing.

ProQuest’s mission to keep up with the high and growing demand for Chinese-language content

According to a press release, ProQuest recently surveyed academic librarians about their needs regarding non-English language content. The results demonstrate a strong interest in making Chinese-language content available to address the needs of researchers:

  • 47% of respondents purchase Chinese-language content.
  • Nearly 30% say Chinese-language content is among users’ most requested non-English language content
  • 24% say they are not adequately supporting patrons’ needs for Chinese-language content.
  • When asked what non-English digital format resources they would like to offer, 30% said frontlist ebooks and 25% said backlist ebooks.

From the same press release:

ProQuest is collaborating with Asian Studies scholars, librarians and Chinese-language publishers to offer a selection of Chinese- language ebooks, enabling libraries to provide resources demanded by researchers. The growing collection spans thousands of titles available on the Ebook Central®, ebrary® and EBL platforms. The platforms’ multi-language interfaces accommodate readers of traditional and simplified Chinese, and other languages. Continue reading ProQuest’s mission to keep up with the high and growing demand for Chinese-language content

De Gruyter and major university presses make 500 books and journal articles across nine topical areas free through 2017

As part of their “Rights, Action and Social Responsibility” initiative, De Gruyter and a number of university presses are making books and journal articles across nine topical areas freely available (to download in PDF) until the end of 2017 on, more precisely here.

The topical areas included in the initiative are:  Constitutional History, Dissent, Truth & Ethics, Environmental Studies, Gender Studies, Geopolitics, Human Rights, Immigration & Urbanism and Islamic Studies.

The content includes more than 500 books and selected journal articles from Columbia University Press, Cornell University Press, Harvard University Press, Princeton University Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, Transcript-Verlag and De Gruyter. Access the content via this link.

Broadening access to these areas of scholarship enables more people, including non-academics, to address these issues in an informed manner: it helps to combat false news sources, to reflect on the nature of truth and ethics, and to understand the struggles of all members of society.

“Public debates surrounding immigration policy, climate change, international relations, and constitutional and human rights are currently at the forefront of the national discourse, especially, but not only, in the United States. Together, De Gruyter and its partners are keen to support a thoughtful and informed debate on these sensitive and serious issues,” said Steve Fallon, Director Publishing Partner Program.

Watch rare socialist film footage via “Socialism on Film,” an Adam Matthew resource produced in partnership with British Film Institute

Researchers will now be able to view the world through a communist lens in Adam Matthew’s newest digitized collection: Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda, a resource that focuses on rare socialist film footage from the twentieth century.

Unique in nature and scope, and enabling comparative global research, this collection provides access to previously unseen footage captured by film makers from the USSR, Vietnam, Cuba, China, East Germany, Eastern Europe and more. The footage gives a rare glimpse into all aspects of socialist life using documentary films, features and newsreels. “This is a very important opportunity for teachers of propaganda and the twentieth century,” commented Jo Fox, Professor of History, Durham University. “It is a unique visual record.”

Socialism on Film provides a counterview to Western perceptions of communist states and their actions, while illuminating how socialist countries saw themselves and the world around them during major political and social events of the twentieth century. Students and scholars can now watch such significant history as:

  • Soviet fears on President Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ defense initiative
  • Interviews with imprisoned American pilots shot down and captured over Vietnam in Pilots in Pyjamas
  • Vanessa Redgrave’s emotional response to nuclear testing in The Nuclear Plague
  • Footage previously banned from general release in Britain

Continue reading Watch rare socialist film footage via “Socialism on Film,” an Adam Matthew resource produced in partnership with British Film Institute

Alexander Street’s Social Work Online encompasses 100 hours of video

Encompassing 100 hours of video, Alexander Street’s Social Work Online is a multimedia resource that combines compelling documentaries, original training videos and client demonstrations with relevant text to illustrate the complex and challenging realities students of social work will face as practitioners.

This content addresses 12 of the most critical subjects in the social work curriculum:

Children and Families
School Social Work
Older Adults
Substance Abuse
Criminal Justice
Mental Health
Health Care
Crisis and Trauma
Social Welfare
History of Social Work

Created in collaboration with expert advisers comprised of faculty and librarians, Social Work Online supplements its video with 50,000 curated pages of text to deliver insights that go deeper than traditional social work textbooks. Continue reading Alexander Street’s Social Work Online encompasses 100 hours of video

Leanpub Podcast Interview with Mirela Roncevic on Free Reading Zones and her vision of the future (for books)

A few weeks ago, NSR Director Mirela Roncevic talked with Leanpub about her Free Reading Zones efforts and explained the experience of turning an entire country into an open virtual library as a way of showing the potential of ebooks and digital content to democratize the written word, transform the publishing industry, and envision a future in which libraries serve people beyond the confines of their buildings and assigned zip codes. She has written about it in her Lessons from Croatia Reads series on NSR (the  Sponsor of the countrywide initiative in Croatia to spread free reading) and is in the midst of writing a lengthy case study/report on the project, to be published by ALA later in 2017.

This is the most revealing (audio) interview on the project thusfar, in which she sheds light on the challenges she and her team encountered and why she believes the future of reading will look radically different than it does today.


Len: I was wondering if you could talk, just for a few minutes, about your current vision. I mean, of course, there will still be experiments, but what is your vision of a global open virtual library? How would it work? Would it have a sort of single, central administration or?

Mirela: I have visions of it. Somebody asked me in an interview, “What is the ultimate Free Reading Zone?”  And I answered, “Oh, the entire world is the ultimate Free Reading Zone.” Not a particular country.

But I do think that for many, many reasons, we have ways to go to get there. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s probably not going to happen in my lifetime. Continue reading Leanpub Podcast Interview with Mirela Roncevic on Free Reading Zones and her vision of the future (for books)

In time for Women’s History month, Gale releases Women’s Studies Archive

Gale has just announced the first collection in its new Women’s Studies Archive. The archive is the third offering in an effort to publish material that supports diversity studies and provides historical context around current topics. This archive follows recentl launches of Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender (the largest digital archive of LGBTQ History and Culture) and the American Civil Liberties Union Papers (ACLU).

Women’s Studies Archive: Women’s Issues and Identities traces the path of women’s issues from past to present—pulling primary sources from manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, and more. It captures the foundation of women’s movements, struggles and triumphs.

Full press release below.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Gale, a Cengage company, has launched a new archive on women’s studies that explores the many contributions of women throughout history.  Part of the growing Gale Primary Sources program, the Women’s Studies Archive represents Gale’s focus on publishing material that supports diversity studies and provides historical context around current topics. Continue reading In time for Women’s History month, Gale releases Women’s Studies Archive