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

WPL logo

We can see at this point in our Free Content ‘tour’ that ‘free’ ebook (or econtent) collections online are based on various premises (e.g., a true nonprofit or a quasi-nonprofit) and take different approaches to issues such as the need to register with the site, as well the ability to download items from the site. As I’ve learned more about DRM and ebook platforms over the past few years, I’ve also learned that the variations in how these collections operate are considerable and speak to models of access.

With that in mind, this week’s focus is on the World Public Library—a service that, contrary to the others considered so far in NSR’s Free Content Alerts (see Project Gutenberg, Bookzz, and Internet Archive posts), requires disclosing personal information to obtain an “e-Libray card”. Continue reading World Public Library, an impressive collection of free books and documents but a cumbersome registration process

Western Sydney University makes etextbooks available for free to all first-year students

Western Sydney Uni

A ground-breaking collaboration between Western Sydney University and ProQuest provides digital textbooks for commencing university students through the University’s library, reducing the overall cost of education to students and increasing access to required learning materials.

One of the world’s largest initiatives of its kind, Western Sydney University is differentiating itself from other universities by making etextbooks from 60 academic publishers available to students via Ebook Central, ProQuest’s ebook platform. Continue reading Western Sydney University makes etextbooks available for free to all first-year students

The Best of NSR: Technology is not the death of deep reading

The Best of NSRIn her opinion piece for No Shelf Required, Content and Media Editor at BiblioLabs Emilie Hancock argues that if we make even the smallest efforts to use technology as a means toward reading more, “we can re-establish a reading culture in the digital age.” At a time when many ‘blame’ technology for ‘killing’ reading, Emilie’s article serves as a reminder that perhaps we haven’t been looking closely enough to notice that technology can, in fact, help us to read more, not less.

This very thinking hits at the core of NSR’s mission—to draw attention to the power of ebooks and econtent to transform the world into a place where reading flows and is an integral part of life in any enlightened society. Read the full article here. Continue reading The Best of NSR: Technology is not the death of deep reading

Book of the Week: The Night Everything Fell Apart (Joy Nash)

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors writing and producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent (aka self-published) literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers around the world), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights a wide variety of titles reviewed on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s (very timely) pick.


https://www.blueinkreview.com/book-reviews/the-night-everything-fell-apart/


 

About Author

joy nashJoy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author.  She’s best known for her pre-Arthurian romantic fantasy series Druids of Avalong, and for her contributions to the best-selling paranormal series Immortals. When Joy was sever years old, she read a book about a girl living on the moon and thought is was real.  Her big sister set her straight.  Ever since, Joy has been of the opinion that fiction is more interesting than reality.  She credits her love of tortured heroes to the Bronte sisters, her fascination with magical adventure to J.R.R. Tolkien, and her weakness for snarky humor to Douglas Adams.


About BlueInk Review

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

ProQuest’s new white paper explores obstacles and opportunities in managing collections (print and electronic)

ProQuest white paperThe white paper, titled “Obstacles and Opportunities: Ebooks, Print and the Impact of Choice on Libraries and the Users They Serve,” explores the complexities of balancing print and ebooks, highlighting opportunities for collaboration between librarians and content aggregators. Focusing on the U.K. higher-education book market, the paper combines commentary from U.K. librarians with global data to draw attention to the complexities of managing book collections in multiple formats, focusing on:

 

  • Similarities between managing print and digital books.
  • Collection management obstacles—and opportunities—introduced by ebooks.
  • How librarians can work with content aggregators like ProQuest to simplify the management of collections comprised of content in multiple formats.

Continue reading ProQuest’s new white paper explores obstacles and opportunities in managing collections (print and electronic)

Ingram’s Consortium now represents over 100 independent publishers. New partners have just been announced.

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MINNEAPOLIS —Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, a brand of Ingram Publisher Services, announces five new publishers for the Spring 2017 season: Animal Media Group LLC, Cassava Republic Press, Hoxton Mini Press, Iron Circus Comics and Transit Books. All presses began distribution with Consortium on Jan. 1, 2017, with the exception of Animal Media Group, which began Sept. 1, 2016.

Consortium grew out of a small book wholesaling cooperative in 1985 to become a full-service distributor, earning a reputation as an advocate for independent publishers. Consortium now represents more than one hundred independent publishers from the United States, Canada, Europe, India, and Australia, enabling them to successfully reach the trade, library, and academic markets for their books. More information about Consortium is available here.

Croatia Reads was not about Croatia [but about free access to books for all mankind]

croatia-map-828-x-315-a

This is Article 3 (following What readers want and What books want) in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series of articles on NSR, which aims to describe the experience of turning the country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone in December 2016.


So what exactly  happened with ebooks in Croatia in December of 2016? The first two articles in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series, which focused on why the project was immensely beneficial for readers and books (and the future of books), left some questions unanswered, owing largely to my affinity for describing life’s experiences (not just this one) not in a linear fashion but instead in the way in which they get stored in my memory. This often has little to do with chronology and more to do with how various lessons from the experience present themselves to  me after the fact.

The Croatia Reads project, which I founded and managed, was many things to many people who are, in one way or another, affected by books either because they write them, read them, sell them, distribute them, or manage them. In retrospect, and perhaps more than anything, Croatia Reads was an attempt to present the library of the future in all its invisible glory. And this library is able to (finally) fully democratize the written word by virtue of becoming completely invisible, thus accessible to all people, all at once. This, as I’ve written in various other posts, is the vision I have both for the industry I love and have devoted two decades of my life to and for the world, which I’ve had the privilege of experiencing through life on three continents.

The idea came to me about a year ago in the midst of a meeting I was having with my (at the time) colleagues at Total Boox, the company behind the pay-as-you-read ebook model for libraries and direct consumers. Continue reading Croatia Reads was not about Croatia [but about free access to books for all mankind]

The Best of NSR: Academic libraries are shrinking, while content is growing. How did we get here?

The Best of NSROriginally published in the Fall of 2016, this opinion piece on the present and future of academic libraries remains one of the most read articles on NSR. Michael Zeoli (VP, YBP Library Services and Publisher Relations) takes a close look at how collection development practices have evolved in academic settings in recent years, especially since the advent of ebooks and proliferation of digital content. Regardless of how familiar book professionals are with complex purchasing models in academic libraries, it is important that we understand how we ‘got here’ before we can understand how best to move forward.

We also must acknowledge that we all participated in the creation of complex business models for buying and managing content. We must now all participate in simplifying them. The reality is, as Michael explains, the academic library world is shrinking, even as more content is created and new technologies are implemented. This raises serious questions about the future of the academic library and the roles we all play in shaping it. Perhaps the most important sentence in the piece is: “All parts of our ecosystem have an active role to play; none should act out of fear and remain passive.” Read the full article here. —Ed.


If you are a book, library or information professional interested in contributing to NSR, please contact the Editorial Director at mirelaroncevic@gmail.com. Please include a writing sample and a brief description of the topic you wish to explore. For more on NSR’s vision, visit our About and Mission pages. To browse our opinion pieces for inspiration, visit our Ideas page.

ProQuest launches free access to its databases for researchers affected by travel ban

proquest_logo_186_notag

Kudos to ProQuest for this.

From a ProQuest press release:

No-charge access to ProQuest databases helps individuals continue their research and learning

ProQuest has launched a program to provide no-cost access to its databases for students and researchers who have been separated from their universities and libraries because of travel bans or other immigration changes. The company has an email hotline ContinueMyResearch@proquest.com where these displaced researchers can arrange for access to the materials they need to continue their work.

“ProQuest is an open and inclusive organization that takes its role in supporting research and learning very seriously,” said Kurt Sanford, ProQuest CEO. “We’re doing whatever we can to mitigate the interruptions facing our community of students and scholars around the world.” Continue reading ProQuest launches free access to its databases for researchers affected by travel ban

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

 

internet archive

This week’s Free Content Alert column considers the Internet Archive, and it’s a bit complex. Not that I want it to be, but it typifies DRM issues. If you bear with me, I believe you’ll find the result worthwhile.

First, the straightforward part: Internet Archive (IA)  is a true nonprofit, founded in 1996, and headquartered in San Francisco. According to a lengthy wiki on IA, its size was 15 petabytes. (A petabyte is 10 to the fifteenth power in bytes, or a million gigs.) Its stated mission is to provide “universal access to all knowledge.” The basic stats are staggering. Wiki continues,

It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books…In addition to its archiving function, the         Archive  is an activist organization, advocating for a free and open Internet. The Internet Archive allows the public to upload and download digital material to its data cluster, but the bulk of its data is collected automatically by its web crawlers, which work to preserve as much of the public web as possible. Its web archive, the Wayback Machine, contains over 150 billion web captures. The Archive also oversees one of the world’s largest book digitization projects. Continue reading Internet Archive, a nonprofit offering an overwhelming amount of free content (and triggering some copyright debates)

Book of the Week: An Expert’s Guide to Fashion Styling (BJ Wilson)

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world writing and producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent (aka self-published) literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers around the world), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick.


https://www.blueinkreview.com/book-reviews/an-experts-guide-to-fashion-styling/

About Author

BJ Wilson

 

BJ Wilson, owner & founder of BJ Wilson & Company began her career in 1983. While working as an administrative assistant, she began consulting for friends and acquaintances who sought advice and help with their wardrobes.

 

 

 


 

About BlueInk Review

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

Bookzz, probably the world’s largest free ebook site with a minimally-invasive registration process

 

BookZZ

As NSR readers know, one of its overriding purposes is to be a passionate advocate for what could  be called ‘boundary-less reading’. By that I mean, e-reading liberated from the confines of space, time, and—increasingly—economic control by rapacious publishers and colluding library administrators whose model for reading demands that digitized books conform to the limitations of print in terms of availability and accessibility.

This radical departure in how to think about electronic reading  can free reading material from the requirements of location, platform, codes, passwords, and library cards and let people just read. There would no longer be a Library-Patron relationship, or a Vendor-Subscriber one. The high-tech simplicity of it all! This is possible when committed people join together.  Therefore, I dedicate this space (and a new column) to NSR‘s readership, who seek to read boundary-less.


Our tour last week began at the beginning, with Project Gutenberg. This week, I’ll describe what is probably the largest free ebook site: Bookzz (www.bookzz.org and www.booksc.org). It looks to be a short description. The research I did for this post yielded very little. Searches on Google and ProQuest’s Library Science database revealed essentially nothing. Their website is extremely sparse on background information as well and gives no history. However, they do say that they have 2.8 million ebooks and 52.5 million science articles. The vast majority of files are in PDF format. Continue reading Bookzz, probably the world’s largest free ebook site with a minimally-invasive registration process

Book of the Week: Tax Reform with the 20/20 Tax (James C. Tanner)

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world writing and producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent (aka self-published) literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers around the world), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights a wide variety of titles reviewed on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s (very timely) pick.


http://www.blueinkreview.com/book-reviews/tax-reform-with-the-2020-tax/

About Author

tanner

 

James C. Tanner is a certified public accountant with over 40 years of experience. He earned his undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University and his Master’s in Accounting and Taxation from the University of Denver. He currently lives with his wife in Colorado. Tax Reform with the 20/20 Tax is his first book.


 

About BlueInk Review

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

What books want (and what we are misunderstanding)

What books want

Article 2 in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series

This is Article 2 (following What readers want) in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series of articles on NSR, which aims to describe the experience of turning the country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone in December 2016. The series is not meant to be a standard academic case study of all that various numbers and figures prove and don’t prove about the future of books and reading. It is an attempt to draw from the experience in a way that highlights all that is missing but within our reach. Croatia Reads was/is meant to give us a glimpse of a future that holds so much promise for the written word. In this future things look radically different than they do today, but the possibilities (and opportunities) for all who work with books are endless.


I start by responding to what I have heard publishers, librarians, and authors say for many years (especially in recent months), and what I no longer relate to as a publishing professional, passionate writer, life-long learner, and restless reader. This idea—this insistence—that books and knowledge must be protected. That there is a lot of logic behind how books are written, how they are published and distributed, and how they are curated and ‘saved’ for future generations. But is there? What if there used to be a lot more logic behind it all than there is today?

Books, I see now, do not want to be guarded or protected. They do not care to belong to any entity (human or artificial) and, in fact, do not want to belong even to those who create them (authors), claim them (publishers), and collect them (librarians). Books don’t want to be recommended and they don’t want to be judged. Like traveling souls yearning to meet a curious companion on their journey, they want to be free to reach the reader on their own terms. They want a relationship with the reader that is genuine and organic and does not involve outside forces.  And it is clear: they can only accomplish all this in digital format. Continue reading What books want (and what we are misunderstanding)

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

Project Gutenberg

Our tour of open reading sites begins at the beginning, with Project Gutenberg. The oldest (1971) of such collections, it currently has a collection of 53,000+ volumes. This number is expected to grow significantly in 2019, when changes in the copyright law allow more books to become available. Originally, founder Michael Hart’s intent was to focus of the collection was books in English in the public domain.  Recently, though, several European languages have been added. The history of the project is available at Wikipedia and on Project Gutenberg’s site.

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

Knowledge Unlatched announces plans for 2017

 

Knowledge UnlatchedNSR (supporter of all initiatives bringing open and free access to books and knowledge), is always glad to hear from the folks at Knowledge Unlatched. They shared some news in an email yesterday. Here is an excerpt from the email and the news article on their site:

Knowledge Unlatched’s Plans for 2017

The year is already off to an exciting start as we see pledges come in from libraries all over the world who wish to support KU Select 2016; our HSS e-book collection featuring books from 54 publishers on 5 continents, curated by 40 acquisitions and collections librarians in 12 countries. The outcome of the library pledging period will be published in February.

Knowledge Unlatched is very active in developing Open Access. Our goal is clear: we want to make KU a platform for different Open Access initiatives to allow them to focus on developing their models whilst broadening the funding structure.

1. With JSTOR, KU is testing an experiment on usage. All KU Pilot and Round 2 titles will be hosted and fully available as Open Access on JSTOR, without cost to users.

2. We will soon be ready to add geolocational usage data to the COUNTER-compliant stats libraries are already receiving for unlatched books.

3. In summer we will help OAPEN, one of our hosting partners since the beginning of KU, to distribute their institutional repository version to libraries. This will be an important step to also help “green” OA to advance within institutions.

4. Together with Language Science Press, we are exploring opportunities to gather funding for Open Access from a larger variety of organisations. So far we’ve sought support exclusively from libraries. Now we will be testing a new multi-stakeholder model, including other funders in support of OA.

5. We recently announced that we will be adding journals to KU. We are already receiving very promising submissions from publishers, and a number of esteemed presses are participating in this effort to flip existing subscriptions into OA.

6. We’ve also been working on a project which we are currently calling ‘KU by Request’, with a library consortium and a few publishers in Germany. If all parties agree, we will be offering German-language titles selected by libraries in a particular discipline.

7. Finally, we are working on an idea with title ‘KU Club’. This model would allow smaller libraries to benefit from both networking and information resources as well as governance opportunities.

Book of the Week: The Lethal Equation (Jacquel Clark)

No Shelf Required is an ardent supporter of independent authors around the world writing and producing their work on their own terms and with their own resources. In an effort to draw attention to quality independent (aka self-published) literature (fiction and nonfiction published by independent authors and indie publishers around the world), and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews of a wide variety of titles published on BIR’s site each week. Enjoy this week’s pick.

http://www.blueinkreview.com/book-reviews/the-lethal-equation/

About Author

Jacquel Clark

Jacquel Clark is a retired accountant from a Fortune 500 company who spent more than 25 years working for corporate America before becoming an independent consultant. Clark earned her undergraduate degree in accounting and her masters degree from Stetson University. She currently lives in Florida where she teaches finance and accounting courses at a local college. This is her first book.

 

 


About BlueInk Review

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

What readers want (and what we are not giving them)

pexels-photo-196649

[Article 1 in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series]

This is Article 1 in the “Lessons from Croatia Reads” series, which aims to describe the experience of turning the country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone in December 2016. The series is not meant to be a standard academic case study of all that various numbers and figures prove and don’t prove about the future of books and reading. It is an attempt to draw from the experience in a way that highlights all that is missing but within our reach. Croatia Reads was/is meant to give us a glimpse of a future that holds so much promise for the written word. In this future things look radically different than they do today, but the possibilities (and opportunities) for all who work with books are endless.

* * *

For the past many months, I’ve had the privilege of stepping outside the confines of the publishing and library industries (as well as the borders of the United States) to engage in non-profit projects and initiatives that bring books and knowledge to people. There comes a point in every person’s career when we crave to turn our professional jobs into missions, and it simply isn’t enough to earn a paycheck, even amidst the most challenging circumstances. We take a leap of faith and jump.

And jump I did, from New York all the way to Croatia, where I would (not immediately upon arrival but soon thereafter) embark on the project of my life and turn an entire country into an open virtual library (available to all its people without a card and access code and regardless of status, geography, background, citizenship, etc). In early December 2016, Croatia (the country of my birth) became the world’s first Free Reading Zone for one entire month. Continue reading What readers want (and what we are not giving them)

Portal on all aspects of ebooks and digital content and for all creating, reading, publishing, managing, curating, and distributing the written word and other content in digital format, including publishers, writers, editors, content developers, distributors, educators, librarians and information science professionals. Managed by Mirela Roncevic, with contributions from professionals and thought leaders in the United States and around the world.