Last week I attended the Book Expo conference in New York City. This is the conference where publishers and book sellers gather to preview upcoming titles and discuss issues of mutual concern. It’s always a fun experience for librarians to be able to see new books and authors, so that has long been a reason to attend BEA. In the last few years, however, it has become an even more relevant conference for librarians because of the issues surrounding ebooks and libraries.
I have been to this conference for the last three years, and have seen the conversation about ebooks change dramatically in that time. In 2011, everyone was sure that ebooks were going to completely replace print publications. Last year, the growth of ebooks sales had slowed a bit so everyone was feeling more calm and confident. They had begun to look for growth opportunities; for example, fiction still dominates the ebook sales (and publishing) so there was a lot of discussion about how to grow sales in other areas such as children’s materials; interactive apps for kids’ books got a lot of attention.
This year, these apps for kids’ books have apparently fizzled to a large degree. The new big topic is “discoverability” particularly as it relates to the “backlist.” Essentially, publishers, authors and book stores are concerned at their inability to connect readers with older books, especially ebooks.
For most publishers, authors and book stores, new releases are the main focus of attention, by far. Most of the real estate in books stores is occupied by multiple copies of new books. Libraries have never been that good at the “front list.” I can hear some of you arguing, but really, you have to admit that by definition a long reserve list for new books is a sure sign that we aren’t satisfying demand and that we don’t have enough copies. Instead, we aim for depth and breadth of materials; that is, we acquire and provide a larger variety of items that an average book store can. We also have an extensive stock of “backlist” items – this is the bulk of our collection. And we also specialize in catalogs that are designed to aid library users in accessing the front list and the backlist.
So, it became even clearer to me at this conference that libraries do have a special, important role to play in this new world of ebooks because we excel at discoverability and at providing access to the “complete ouvre” of an author. This is a great opportunity for us to promote the unique service that we bring to readers, authors and publishers. I hope we can seize it before it passes us by!
RSA, one of RAILS four shared online catalog organizations, held a training and sharing event in May for members of ADML (Alliance Digital Media Library) at RAILS East Peoria service center. Training events are one of the key benefits offered to members of RAILS online catalog organizations. More Information
"Since 57 of the ADML member libraries serve populations under 4,000, member-to-member training is crucial in keeping this service viable," according to Kendal Orrison, RSA LLSAP Services Manager. "This event allowed the larger, better trained libraries to reach a large number of the smaller libraries and was useful in helping ADML libraries provide training and support to each other."
The event drew a full house with 81 participants. Attendees received an overview of the ADML website, a "hands on" session with devices for downloadable books, information on how to better market the service to patrons, and other technical information applicable to the consortia members.
ADML (Alliance Digital Media Library) is the Overdrive consortia started by the former Alliance Library System. It serves 96 libraries in the southern part of RAILS. This event was put together by member libraries in ADML.
Attention Members in the Macomb Area and Beyond
On Friday, June 14 at 10 a.m., Executive Director Dee Brennan will be at the Macomb Public Library District. You can hear the latest news about RAILS, network with colleagues from the area, and share your feedback with Dee.
Please share this information widely with your colleagues in the Macomb area and beyond.
Please register for this event on L2 at: http://www.librarylearning.info/events/?eventID=15361.
Members in the Galesburg area are invited to learn the latest news about RAILS, network with colleagues, and share their feedback with Executive Director Dee Brennan on June 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the Galesburg Public Library. Please share this information with your colleagues in the Galesburg area and beyond.
Registration and more information can be found at: http://www.librarylearning.info/events/?eventID=15360.