eBooks – Wouldn’t One Platform Be Nice?

If you’ve ever heard me give a presentation about eBooks, then you’ve probably heard my soap box rant about the plethora of eBook platforms.  I can’t stand it.  I look forward to the day when all of my e-content – reference, monographs, textbooks, whatever – will be on one consistent platform, fully searchable by keyword and every other possible facet.  With ALA Annual coming up in June, I am asking all of you who feel the same to please remind the publishers that we want one platform for our electronic content.  I know I’m not alone here.  I’ve just heard some rumors from a publisher that librarians in Japan asked for the exact same thing – one central platform!

Here’s an excerpt from my Nov. 1, 2008 article in Reference Books Bulletin about eBook platforms:

Make access a priority. The best way to drive business to e-reference is through the online catalog. Make sure all MARC records are in the catalog with persistent links to the e-books. Strive to use as few interfaces as possible. Our comparison chart lists 6 vendors, each with a unique interface and special features; how can we make things simpler? Purchase titles to own, and get the licensing agreement to provide a copy of the e-book in either the HTML, XML, or PDF version.   With this data, libraries can mount all e-book content on 1 platform, like Ebrary, or an open-source product, like XTF. Or purchase from vendors that support multiple publishers in one platform—Gale Virtual Reference Library is a good example. Another good option for access is through Paratext’s Reference Universe, which indexes the table of contents, entries, and thousands of print and electronic titles. It’s a deeper search than the catalog, uses one interface, and has persistent links to the article level of e-books and to the catalog record of print titles. When shopping around, talk to publishers about access, and remind them that fewer interfaces make for simple searching by users and librarians.

Interview with Gale/Cengage – Updating eBooks

May 6, 2008

I had a nice conversation with Frank Menchaca, Executive VP and Publisher of Gale/Cengage Learning.  We discussed the importance of updating eBooks and what plans Gale has in place to do this, including Smart Reference and GVRL 2.0 – both forthcoming.

I recommend you download the file first, then listen.

May 2008 – Frank Menchaca, Executive VP/Publisher, Gale/Cengage Learning

Britannica Opens Site for Free Access to Web Publishers, Linking

Britannica Opens Site for Free Access to Web Publishers, Linking CHICAGO, April 29, 2008

Bloggers, webmasters, online journalists and anyone else who publishes regularly on the Internet can now get free subscriptions to Britannica Online (www.britannica.com). Anyone interested in participating in Britannica’s new WebShare initiative can apply for a free subscription at http://signup.eb.com or get more information at http://britannicanet.com.

The free subscriptions are part of Britannica’s effort to increase awareness and use of its extensive information resources, which include articles written by many top scholars, some of them Nobel laureates. “It’s good business for us and a benefit to people who publish on the Net,” said Britannica president Jorge Cauz. “The level of professionalism among Web publishers has really improved, and we want to recognize that by giving access to the people who are shaping the conversations about the issues of the day. Britannica belongs in the middle of those conversations.”

In addition to the free subscriptions, Web publishers can also bring the value of Britannica’s content to their own sites by linking to any articles they find relevant to the topics they’re writing about. Access to much of the site, including full-text entries from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, normally requires a paid subscription. There’s an exception to that rule, however: When a Web site links to a Britannica article Web surfers who click on that link get the article in its entirety.

eBooks and ILL, is there a solution?

I’ve been hearing lots of conversation about eBooks and the inability to use them for ILL requests.  With a shift in purchasing to electronic, how will this affect the ILL service? Should we be getting ILL rights with purchase?  How would that work in the world of authentication and proxy servers?  Are librarians thinking about ILL needs when purchasing electronic titles over print? What are your thoughts?

Sue

ACLS Humanities eBook Experiment (and survey) (HEB)

ACLS Humanities E-Book is conducting an experiment on the delivery of its online humanities titles. Since its inception, HEB has combined page-image books with XML books to create a seamless structure for searching and browsing within both technologies. HEB’s collection of over 1,700 books now includes over 1,600 books in the page-image format. We have created XML versions of 20 of these books andhave launched versions side-by-side online for comparison at _http://www.humanitiesebook.org/xml-backlist-exp.html_. Overall results will be made available in Fall 2008 and in a subsequent White Paper.

For more information on the experiment and survey please contact:

Eileen Gardiner, Ph.D. E-MAIL: egardiner@hebook.org
Ronald G. Musto, Ph.D. E-MAIL: rgmusto@hebook.org
Directors ACLS Humanities E-Book
633 Third Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10017-6795
TEL: 212-838-0641,
FAX: 212-838-7812
Visit our web site at http://www.HumanitiesEBook.org

JISC eBooks Project

From the Joint Information Systems Committee (UK). This is one of the largest studies known on eBooks.

What is it?
The national e-books observatory project will assess the impacts, observe behaviours and develop new models to stimulate the e-books market, and do all this in a managed environment.

More info and survey results available at: JISC http://www.jiscebooksproject.org/
check out the results of the deep log analysis study of student ebook usage

SUNY Press to Offer Electronic Editions of Frontlist Books for just $20.00

From LJ Academic Newswire:

SUNY Press To Offer Electronic Editions of Frontlist Books With the launch of its new DirectText (DT) initiative this week.

SUNY Press has become the first university press in the United States to offer electronic editions of its frontlist titles. With monographs becoming increasingly expensive, often exceeding $75, SUNY Press officials say the new program is aimed at getting content into more readers’ hands. Under the program, SUNY Press’ frontlist titles will be available for download for just $20 directly from the Press’s web site.

Users can download and print PDF versions. A free preview option allows one to view the table of contents, the first two pages of each chapter, and an index of DT titles before purchasing. Dan Flynn, Director of Sales and Business Development at SUNY Press told the LJ Academic Newswire that making chapters or portions of SUNY Press books available for sale is also being planned. To download a book, the purchaser of a DirectText book must register with PublishersRow.com, the program’s vendor, to get a username and password, which places the book in the purchaser’s “bookshelf.” Users may register up to three computers to access a book in their bookshelf, Flynn explained, (for example, their home, work computers and a laptop). “The registered computers may view the DirectText book for 180 days online, may download the book as a PDF document, and may print all or portions of the book.” Press director Gary Dunham, who joined SUNY Press in January of this year, said the DT initiative is about “creating instant access to just-published scholarship” at an affordable rate. “If you want a prestige, jacketed cloth edition, you can still have it,” Dunham said, “but affordability and immediacy are really the cornerstones of this program.” The DT initiative went live on March 30 with 20 titles. Approximately 50 titles will be available by the end of June, and an additional 60 will be available by the end of the year. Dunham says press officials will evaluate DT seasonally. “We look forward to its evolution,” he said.

Now that’s what I call a business model! Wow – price less than print, available before print, browse before you buy, and soon purchase only the chapters you need. (sp)

Interview with Rolf Janke, Publisher, SAGE Reference

Each month, noshelfrequired will feature an audio interview with an Ebook publisher, aggregator, or distributor. Interviews will be about 10 – 15 minutes in length.  The first interview is with Rolf Janke, Vice President and Publisher, SAGE Reference.

It is best to save the file on your computer first, then listen.

April 2008 – Rolf Janke, VP/Publisher, Sage Reference

Gale’s National Library Week Celebration – Free Access

Cool idea! Thanks Gale/Cengage. I hope this isn’t an April Fool’s joke 😉

To celebrate libraries and their resources, Gale is offering you free access to Books & Authors, our new and innovative online readers’ advisory resource for the entire month of April. Its browesable menus and advanced visual search technology allow readers to discover authors and literature to match their interests. And libraries can customize the interface to promote book club meetings, special events and other happenings at their library. What a great way to build your reading community! It’s free. Try it now and every day in April.

Singing Books & Authors’ praises To celebrate the launch of this momentous new product, we invite you and your patrons to compose a song about your favorite book or author, record a video of its performance and submit it for a chance to win $5,000 — $2,500 for you and $2,500 for your favorite library. Post the contest on your community board to encourage even more entries and have a better chance at winning a share of the prize money! Visit http://www.uptilt.com/c.html?rtr=on&s=4rs,ylw1,2e2o,4jcv,228r,eyl9,9sle for complete rules beginning April 13, 2008.

Enjoy even more access during National Library Week That’s right. During National Library Week – April 13-19 – your library will have free access to all these terrific resources:
Academic OneFile
Biography Resource Center
British Library Newspapers
Gale Directory Library
Gale Virtual Reference Library
General OneFile
Health & Wellness Resource Center
History Resource Center: U.S.
History resource Center: World
Literature Criticism Online
LitFinder
Literature Resource Center
Nursing Resource Center
Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center: Critical Thinking
Popular Magazines
PowerSearch
Science Resource Center
Small Business Resource Center
Sources in U.S. History Online: The American Revolution
Sources in U.S. History Online: The Civil War
Sources in U.S. History Online: Slavery in America Enjoy National Library Week!

Berkshire Publishing’s Bookshop launched

Here’s a new spin on eBook publishing and business models. Berkshire Publishing offers FREE searching/browsing of reference titles before purchase. Libraries and/or end users can subscribe to the content, directly from the site for an annual fee. Example: Pricing for their new title, Global Perspectives of the United States, is $49.00 annually. The print list price is $275.00. If you only wanted to own titles for a couple of years, this might be a more economical way to purchase.

http://www.exacteditions.com/berkshire

Ask the eBook Publisher

Beginning in April, I plan to do audio interviews with various ebook publishers about….well, ebooks. What do YOU want to know? What publishers do you want to hear from? What would you ask them? Interviews will be posted on the blog.

Do any librarians want to be interviewed about ebooks? Give me a holler.

Is anyone using eBooks?

Kari Paulson, President of EBL, offered these statistics at the Charleston Conference last fall. I verified them with her today. The stats are from EBL. Kari collected these anecdotal stats to respond to the common question, is anyone using eBooks?

At EBL, in the month of October, 2007
The average patron spent 32 minutes reading online, per title (does not include browse time)
16% of the sessions lasted over one hour
17.5 pages were accessed per session
50/50 split between downloading the titles and using the online reader

She also looked at the overall usage of library accounts who used EBL in both October 2006, and October 2007. Usage grew 464%. Granted, the libraries added additional titles throughout the year, but the increase in usage is still amazing.

I wonder how many of the pages got printed 😉

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