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

Voices for Canada

Canada, in spite of its southern neighbor’s too frequent assumptions, is not a cultural outpost of US art, literary, and literacy practices. Canadians create and take pride in the richness of Canadian books, authors, and artists. When it comes to identifying, collecting, and promoting Canadian authors, publishers, librarians, and journalists engage in ongoing projects to discover and make discoverable, through meta-tagging, explicit selection and deselection curation rules, and title page verso reference to national and provincial agencies dedicated to the promotion of books.

Comparisons between 2014 and 2015 surveys of adult audiobook listeners in Canada show that the format has gained solid traction and an increasingly invested listening audience. [1] Canadian listening readers, like their counterparts in the US and other countries, continue to enjoy increasing numbers of titles from which to select. However, as with book publication, the search for Canadian content indicates greater potential than current actuality. And with audiobooks, the product has several points at which its Canadianess—or lack thereof—can be judged: author, audiobook publishing company, and narrator talent. Continue reading Voices for Canada

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 SubwayLibrary.com 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.

 

Indie Author Day: Librarians and authors sound off on the benefits of participating

In anticipation of Indie Author Day 2017, to take place on October 14, this article will summarize what I found after speaking with several librarians and an author who had participated in Indie Author Day last October.

Four themes emerged:

  • The Indie Author Day name sends too narrow a message
  • Libraries need to do more, and earlier, promotion to bring in readers as well as authors
  • The most successful aspect of Indie Author Day was networking among the authors. In one case, this resulted in the founding of a writers group at a library.
  • …and what about paying the authors for the books?

Mel Parish, the author who organized Eastchester Public Library’s Indie Author Day 2016 spoke to me at length about her experiences with it. 

“It was good to get together with other authors,” she said. However, the name of the event conveyed the message that it was a day for authors, and not for  readers (and book purchasers). 

Calling it Indie Author Day sends the message that it is a day for authors, rather than for readers, so it attracts authors. At Eastchester, several of the people in the audience were actually either writing books or planning to, and they wanted to learn more about how to become an indie author. It wasn’t clear that the event was for readers as well as for authors, so people thought that it was especially for authors who hoped to get their books into public libraries, which can be difficult, since librarians see being published by one of the Big Five as the stamp of approval for a book, and they won’t buy books from the smaller independent presses or from indie authors. 

Continue reading Indie Author Day: Librarians and authors sound off on the benefits of participating

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

Book of the Week: GPS For Everyone: You Are Here (Pratap Misra)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

GPS for Everyone: You are Here

Continue reading Book of the Week: GPS For Everyone: You Are Here (Pratap Misra)

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’

Eserver.org, an alternative niche for free quality content (including ebooks) in the arts and humanities

Unglue.it, 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)

The Audies Turn 22

Last week the 22nd year of Audie Award celebrations took place, an occasion in which the audiobook industry recognizes the best and brightest of a year’s worth of production. Back in 1996, the initial event feted works in 15 categories, six of which were three sets of pairings differentiating between abridged and unabridged efforts. The short lists of finalists were…short: three works in each of 13 categories and only the ultimate winners in the other two. Those two, with their single callout each, represented the abridged and unabridged “Internet listeners” choices.

In 1996, the Audio Publishers Association, the award-granting body for the Audies, didn’t even leave an Internet footprint. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine retains the first capture of APA’s online presence as April 1997. Continue reading The Audies Turn 22

This week in Literature and Arts

May 30, 1593: Christopher Marlowe is killed in a tavern fight over the bill. Despite that official coroner’s record, the facts surrounding his death remain suspicious.

Marlowe, along with Ingram Frizer, Nicholas Skeres, and Robert Poley, had been imbibing and when it came time to pay up, a disagreement occurred. Marlowe reportedly snatched Frizer’s dagger and wounded him. In the ensuing struggle the knife pierced Marlowe’s skull over his right eye killing him (that’s a three-aspirin headache, brother!).

Confusion over the motive remains, however, as Marlowe is believed to have been a government spy as well as an atheist, both circumstances that might have proven an ulterior motive for him being murdered. He was just as dead, regardless of the reason.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

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]

Indie Author Day: What it’s about and what it does for indie authors and libraries

In last week’s article, The Rise of the Indie Author in Libraries, we looked at the indie author phenomenon and why it is important to libraries. We found that with the development of the worldwide web and easy access to computing equipment, self-publishing has grown from being a money-maker for vanity presses, but not for authors, to becoming a money-maker for the authors. While one still finds poorly written books being self-published, a new breed of highly professional authors has arisen—writers like John Locke (the current author, not the English philosopher)—who consistently write and publish bestsellers, who outsource to get expert editing, cover creation and book design (just as most traditional publishers now do), and who operate more like mini publishing houses than like the self-published authors many librarians feel cannot produce books that meet good editorial standards.

There are huge financial incentives for authors to self-publish their ebooks, rather than accept the 19th century two-year publishing schedule and Scrooge-like royalties that come with traditional print publishing. As the analysis at Author Earnings has demonstrated, authors are already making money by self-publishing in e. Some, such as Hugh Howey, then hand off print editions to a traditional publisher that can distribute printed books through wholesalers to bookstores and other retail outlets. With the new publishing technology and the global digital marketplace, the author gets the best of two worlds instead of the worst of the one traditional world. The effect of this new financial model and the technologies behind it cannot be overestimated. Continue reading Indie Author Day: What it’s about and what it does for indie authors and libraries

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.

Book of the Week: The Hook (Kathleen Doler)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

The Hook: Surfing to Survive a Shattered Family, Drugs, Gangs and the FBI

Continue reading Book of the Week: The Hook (Kathleen Doler)

Europe Announces That All Scientific Papers Should Be Free by 2020

This week was a revolutionary week in the sciences – not because we discovered a new fundamental particle or had a new breakthrough in quantum computing – but because some of the most prominent world leaders announced an initiative which asserts that European scientific papers should be made freely available to all by 2020.

This would legally only impact research supported by public and public-private funds, which are a vast portion of the papers produced annually; however, the goal is to make all science freely available.

Read the rest of the story here.

Highlights from NSR’s Understanding Ebooks webinar — What publishers and librarians need to know [and can be inspired by]

The slides from last week’s NSR webinar, via the American Library Association (ALA), are available for viewing on Slideshare (or below). Thank you to ALA for the opportunity to conduct the webinar as well as to the librarians and non-librarians who attended it and who engaged in the discussion afterwards (not only live but also via private messages). As always, I learn from you and hope that I was able to inspire you to embark on new initiatives with ebooks and to consider new options for your libraries.

The goal was to present a grand overview of the vast and ever-expanding landscape of ebooks easy to understand even if you have no prior knowledge of the ebook ecosystem, its players, and the issues facing those who produce, buy and sell ebooks (and this ecosystem is large and complex).

The key questions I posed at the beginning of my presentation (that I hope I answered by the end) included:

  • How vast is the ebook landscape?
  • Who are the key players in the ebooks market?
  • How are ebooks evolving in libraries (public, academic, and school)?
  • What does the future hold for ebooks?

We examined the types of ebooks (free, vs. low-cost vs. paid-for), the sources of ebooks (extending far beyond publishers and traditional distributors), the business models in various markets, and key players and brands not only in the context of ebooks in libraries but also in the context of a larger ecosystem of e-content, of which ebooks (and libraries) are only a small part. Continue reading Highlights from NSR’s Understanding Ebooks webinar — What publishers and librarians need to know [and can be inspired by]

Reviewing in the Audio Literacy Ecosystem

How Review Resources Limit Awareness

While popularly quoted statistics point to the burgeoning of both audiobook production and audiobook audience size, trying to drill down to the faces behind the numbers proves difficult. The broad outlines offer silhouettes: gender segmentation, age cohort spread, listening locations, and educational attainment. Disseminated reports on race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, and unsatisfied areas of content interest among audiobook listeners would boost efficacy of training reviewers to be as responsive to audience listening needs and wants as those reviewers are becoming more facile with technical aspects of audio publishing industry capacity and successes.

Where audiobook collections were once the purview of libraries, consumer-facing businesses for obtaining downloadable audiobooks offer subscription plans to individuals with even modest discretionary income. Where most listeners—whether a borrower making use of their library’s online audiobook vendor package or a direct subscriber to a consumer service—hear about audiobooks that may pique their interest is online, and by accessing a stew of commercial sites, personal blogs, a limited number of databases, and the equally small number of professional review journals that include audiobook coverage. This blend of informational access to audiobook publishing necessarily skews awareness of potential listening choices. The personal blogs, some of which contain fine critical writing, are typically limited to the bloggers’ personal listening interests in terms of genres, and even narrators. Database entries for audiobook advisory work necessarily rely on published reviews, and therefore are offering a new means of review discovery rather than additional review angles or title coverage. And the journals where critical audiobook reviews appear work with their own editorial policies and the cultural limitations of their reviewer stable. Continue reading Reviewing in the Audio Literacy Ecosystem

This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 158th birthday to the great Arthur Conan Doyle, doctor, author, spiritualist, and inadvertent father of forensic science, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, May 22, 1859.

Most readers have introduced themselves to Holmes and Watson, but if you’re unfamiliar with his adventure stories, try them. The Lost World and other Professor Challenger stories are great fun. Stay away from his romances though, just awful.

Arthur, old son, I love you with my heart and soul.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

Open Culture — A mission to collect the content that is free and [arguably] the ‘best in class’

Up to this point, NSR’s Free Content Alerts column has focused almost exclusively on ebooks. Of course, though, the Internet is an expansive place and offers a seemingly endless variety of choices. Openculture.com attempts to partially fill the gap between ecollections and all the variety of other material that has been brought together across the Web. It describes itself this way: “Open Culture editor Dan Colman scours the web for the best educational media. He finds the free courses and audio books you need, the language lessons & movies you want, and plenty of enlightenment in between. Daily email updates about the site are available as well.” Continue reading Open Culture — A mission to collect the content that is free and [arguably] the ‘best in class’

The rise of the Indie Author in Libraries

This is the first article in an ongoing series that will examine every aspect of indie authorship and how developing relationships with indie authors and their communities can benefit both libraries and writers. We will explore why trusted names in the library business, such as Ingram, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal support indie authors. Likewise, we will look at the efforts of libraries—from huge Los Angeles Public Library to not-so-huge Williamson County, VA—on behalf of indie authors. We will examine the forces that have led to the rise of the indie author, and since NSR is about digital content in libraries, we will look closely at how the internet, the worldwide web, and ebooks are the technologies that have made indie publishing viable in a way that vanity publishing never was.

What is an Indie Author?

Let’s first try to understand what an indie author is, and why knowing something about what makes indie authors indie helps librarians understand how to work with them.

We all know how traditionally published authors work with their publishers, or at least we have a general idea. We know that the author is supported, and to some extent directed, by an editor or several editors. The editor may guide in the development of a manuscript, that is in developing characters and plot in fiction. The editor will assure that the manuscript receives thorough fact checking and vetting in nonfiction. Every manuscript will be copy edited. The cover will be designed and executed by a professional. The book will be typeset in a pleasing font and printed on book paper. The finished book, whether printed or digital, will truly be a finished product. Whether we care for the opinions expressed or the fantasies created within, we know that the book meets what we commonly call good editorial standards. Continue reading The rise of the Indie Author in Libraries

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