OverDrive Blames Kindle eBook Problem on Technical Snafu

27 February 2015

From Ink, Bits & Pixels:

If you’ve been checking ebooks out of your library over the past month, you may have noticed a certain problem with OverDrive. Numerous library patrons have been complaining on Amazon’s forums and elsewhere that new titles which libraries are adding to their catalogs are no longer available to read on the Kindle.

. . . .

OverDrive is having an issue with their system. It affects titles published since the beginning of the year, and it is impacting publishers both big (Macmillan, Harlequin, HarperCollins) and small (Overlook Press, Sourcebooks, and more).

. . . .

To start, It’s safe to assume that this is not an action taken by the major publishers; this issue is also hitting smaller independent publishers.

. . . .

So what’s going on here?

At this point I really don’t know, but in the absence of any new info my working hypothesis is that this really is a technical snafu. It’s a wide-ranging and very embarrassing technical snafu, but I have no evidence at this time to disprove that claim.

. . . .

Some newly published titles are getting through OverDrive to the Kindle platform, including Big 5 titles.

Link to the rest at Ink, Bits & Pixels

Fire in major Russian library destroys 1m historic documents

2 February 2015

From The Guardian:

A fire that ripped through one of Russia’s largest university libraries is believed to have damaged more than 1m historic documents, with some describing the fire as a cultural “Chernobyl”.

The blaze, which began on Friday and was still not completely out on Saturday evening, ravaged 2,000 square metres (21,500 sq ft) of the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (Inion) in Moscow, which was created in 1918 and holds 10m documents, some of which date back to the 16th century.

Vladimir Fortov, the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: “It’s a major loss for science. This is the largest collection of its kind in the world, probably equivalent to the [US] Library of Congress.

“One can find documents there that are impossible to find elsewhere, all the social sciences use this library. What has happened here is reminiscent of Chernobyl,” he said, referring to the 1986 nuclear catastrophe.

. . . .

Fortov told Kommersant FM radio that much of the damage was caused by water from the firefighting operations.

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Melissa for the tip.

Big-Box Store Has New Life as an Airy Public Library

29 January 2015

From The New York Times:

The hulking husk of a vacant Walmart here in the Rio Grande Valley is enjoying an unlikely second act. When the big-box retailer moved to a larger location down the street, the building might have been destined to house yet another large chain or to fall into disrepair. But rather than let it become an eyesore, the city scooped it up and spent $24 million transforming the drab structure into a 123,000-square-foot public library that serves as a vibrant space for residents here.

The library, which the McAllen Public Library system says “may very well be the largest single-floor public library in the nation,” has a modern, cheery feel. Twenty-foot ceilings, combined with new skylights and windows, create a bright, airy interior. Large three-dimensional signs that mark the sections hang from the ceilings, creating cozy nooks below.

The building includes a computer lab, a cafe, meeting rooms with videoconferencing capabilities and a 180-seat auditorium. It is a major upgrade from the city’s old 40,000-square-foot main library, which had cramped shelves and limited seating.

“In the old place, basically every table or chair next to an electrical outlet was taken, and you had others glancing longingly at those seats,” said John Donohue, the library’s circulation supervisor, who has been with the system for 31 years. “Now, we have outlets at all tables.”

. . . .

Residents have flocked to the new library, which opened its doors in December. It now serves more than double the number of patrons it did in the old building — about 62,000 people visited in July, up from 28,000 in July 2011.

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Cora for the tip.

Glen Ellyn Public Library creates new collection for emerging authors

25 January 2015

From the Daily Herald:

Glen Ellyn Public Library has created a new collection to support self-published authors and give patrons a way to obtain hard-to-find reads.

To be included in the new Emerging Author Collection, books must be about the Chicago metro area or be written by authors who live here.

Although authors who didn’t publish their own works can be in the collection, the library created the section with the expanding world of self-publishing in mind.

“We actually started the collection because of the growing phenomenon that we’re seeing that so many people are publishing their books themselves,” Adult Department Director Susan DeRonne said. “And these books don’t always get reviewed by the standard journals that we usually do our selecting from.”

. . . .

 “Twenty years ago, a self-published book was sort of frowned upon as a book that just didn’t make it,” she said. “There’s no longer that stigma on self-published books at all. It’s just another avenue of information.”

. . . .

She said the collection will help authors because most public libraries still only add books to their collection that have gone through “the traditional channels of publishing houses.”

“There’s a lot of good writers out there who don’t make it through publishing houses,” she said.

Link to the rest at the Daily Herald

Toronto Public Library sadly embraces ‘culture of free’

20 January 2015

From the Toronto Star:

The Toronto Public Library, the largest in the country, has launched a new platform of penny-pinching ingenuity. The “Sell Books to the Library” program advertises to readers that it will buy used hardcover copies of bestselling titles listed on its website at the beginning of every month at five dollars a piece.

This innocuous sounding program is but the latest manifestation of the so-called “culture of free” that has ravaged the media, music and book worlds. Without the FBI threatening quarter-million-dollar fines or five year prison terms for copyright infringement — as it does on DVDs — the value system that supports the prospect of just reward is eroded. Individuals and companies used to paying nothing for artists’ work now do so without compunction.

. . . .

Alarmingly, this phenomenon of exploitation includes the very institutions whoseraison d’être (you would have thought) demand a respect of writers and their product, acting not as custodians but instead pushing for their own chance to outwit circumstance and pay nothing. The amendment, in 2012, of Canadian copyright law to include “education” as the object of legitimate “fair dealing” has faculties across the country brazenly copying entire chapters or 10 per cent of a book for the assembly of fat study guides, for which not a single writer is paid, meted out to hundreds of thousands of students.

And now the Toronto Public Library is zealously joining the cheapskates’ fray. The books it has listed on its “Sell Books to the Library” website page are not books that the public does not want; their authors are not ones who, the great lie of media and festivals, stand to benefit from extra publicity. No, the list is comprised of books so popular that the library is having a hard time meeting existing demand. December’s inaugural list includes, for instance, Canadian authors Margaret Atwood, David Bezmozgis, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Kathleen Reichs, Peter Robinson, Carrie Snyder, Miriam Toews, as well as Sean Michaels and Thomas King, winners of this year’s Scotiabank Giller and Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction respectively.

Instead of ordering copies of books that furnish a royalty, and supporting the trade, as all honourable purchases do, the TPL is buying off the back of a public truck it has ushered into the courtyard, depriving writers and the companies that invest in them of their just reward. It can do so because it has decided that the lowest possible price to be paid is the right one.

Link to the rest at the Toronto Star

25+ Of The Most Majestic Libraries In The World

10 January 2015

From boredpanda:

Though they are losing ground to the e-book and the audio book, libraries were once central hubs of human intellectual progress. There’s something about them that still attracts people, however – whether it’s their magnificent architecture or the unmistakable smell of books and dust, scholars and dreamers alike still enjoy perusing their hoards of literary treasures.

Because of their critical importance, libraries were often built to be beautiful and built to last. Combined with the sometimes priceless treasures that they hold, their simultaneously enormous and intimate spaces possess a charm that no other type of building can command.


The National Library Of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Link to the rest at boredpanda and thanks to Meryl for the tip.

Ten library systems pass one million digital checkouts in OverDrive in 2014

29 December 2014

From TeleRead:

OverDrive announced that 10 public libraries surpassed one million digital checkouts for 2014. Six did it in 2013. Checkouts include ebooks, audiobooks, music and video streaming, and periodicals from OverDrive’s collection.

Two libraries hit the two million mark.

. . . .

2 Million or more digital checkouts
• Toronto Public Library (ON): (49% growth over 2013)
• King County Library System (WA): (33%)

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Report warns of “absolute disaster” in UK library services

21 December 2014

From TeleRead:

The just-released “Independent Library Report for England” launched by the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has outlined a situation that its chief author, William Sieghart, has referred to elsewhere as the brink of “absolute disaster.” And it calls for both wholesale renovation of the UK’s library network, and recognition of their fundamental importance in society.

For one thing, the Report seems to to all too aware of the danger of its conclusions being ignored by politicians. “There have already been far too many library reviews in recent years which have come to nothing,” it warns. “Not enough decision makers at national or local level appear sufficiently aware of the remarkable and vital value that a good library service can offer modern communities of every size and character.” The Report also demolishes any notion that libraries are some outmoded service rendered irrelevant by digital media. “In England, over a third of the population visits their local library. In the poorest areas, that figure rises to nearly a half. It is no wonder that communities feel so passionately about their libraries.” Indeed, it concludes, “the future of libraries as community hubs is essential for the well-being of the nation.”

. . . .

What the Report was actually calling for was “a re-invigoration of the library network,” which “starts with a marked increase and improvement in digital technology, rolling WiFi out to every library in the country.”

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Stamford library faces changing reading habits

12 December 2014

From the Danbury (Connecticut) News-Times:

Along with the rest of the media world, libraries have been evolving rapidly to keep up with a public that has access to nearly limitless options for reading in many forms other than a traditional, shelved book.

Libraries are offering more classes, are making increasing numbers of e-Books available to their customers and are scheduling more author appearances to make up for the decline in area bookstores.

. . . .

The Stamford library entered the world of e-Books 11 years ago, offering mostly academic books to a relatively small audience, but as the platforms for reading have expanded from Kindles and Nooks to iPads and iPhones, the interest in getting electronic books has steadily increased.

“We had a huge increase (last year) just from December to January. It seemed to start overnight,” she said.

While e-Books still only account for about 5 percent of the material used by library patrons, this year has seen 19 percent growth in e-Books at the Ferguson. October was up 29 percent over the same month last year.

. . . .

“E-books can be very expensive and you don’t own the material,” he said, adding that in most cases libraries purchase a fixed number of downloads on a title (this is why the waiting time for an e-Book loan can be just as long or longer than the wait for an ink-and-paper book).

Shell said that very often two traditional books can be bought and shelved in the permanent collection for the cost of one temporarily leased e-Book.

. . . .

The emergence of e-Books has made it easier and cheaper for writers to self-publish and circulate their work.

The Danbury Library has offered regular sessions on “the ABCs” of e-Books, Shell said.

“We want people to understand self-publishing,” he said.

The growth of self-publishing via e-Book has resulted in more of these writers having their work added to library collections in Danbury and Stamford.

“We read it and vet it and put it in our collection,” Shell said.

. . . .

“Some of our prejudices about self-publishing have disappeared,” Knapp said. “Some of them are fantastic. When it comes to Stamford authors — (traditionally) published or self-published — we’re going to collect them. But they have to earn a place on the shelf.”

Link to the rest at Danbury News-Times 

Library contest aims to bring fame to self-published author

6 December 2014

From The Chicago Tribune:

Public libraries in Illinois once again are seeking to bring an author laboring in relative obscurity into the limelight.

For the second year in a row, the libraries are hosting The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project that will choose a self-published Illinois author’s work for a year of book talks, author events and other promotions in Illinois public libraries.

Illinois authors who have self-published an adult fiction book are encouraged to enter the second year of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project until Dec. 15. The winner of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project will spend a year being promoted in libraries throughout the state, participating in book signings, special presentations, media interviews, and conference appearances.

. . . .

“Librarians are all about connecting readers with books (or viewers with films, etc.),” said Dee Brennan, executive director of RAILS, a regional library system, in an email. “It’s our job to seek out the best books we can and deliver them to readers. We need to look beyond the traditional publishing world to include and support the aspiring authors who haven’t been able to break through the publishing ‘wall.’ Who knows when we will find the next Gillian Flynn?”

The project was the brainchild of a group of library marketing professionals who were inspired by remarks made by New York University professor David Vinjamuri about the importance of libraries in an era of E-books, said Christine Cigler, marketing manager of the Fox River Valley Public Library District.

She said Vinjamuri challenged libraries to bring attention to a self-published Illinois author and demonstrate the influence libraries and librarians have over the public’s reading selections.

Link to the rest at The Chicago Tribune

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