ALA, Ebooks & Libraries: Where do we Stand & Where are we Going?

This was a presentation/panel discussion I attended at ALA Midwinter 2013 (#alamw13). Interesting stuff! Here are some notes (not comprehensive):

Panelists included:

  • Jamie LaRue, Douglas County Libraries
  • Alan Inouye, ALA OITP
  • Matt Tempelis, 3M
  • Robert Wolven
  • George Coe, Baker & Taylor
  • Sari Feldman

First, there was a short presentation on the status of ALA’s initiatives around ebooks:

ALA has been reaching out directly to publishers by holding a couple of meetings with publishers, distributors, and author reps.

ALA has created a couple of ebook-related documents, including:

  • Business models for ebooks – Mainly working on business models for public libraries
  • Business model scorecard
    • Mechanism for evaluating publisher models
    • Describes aspects like price, accessibility, available content, limited circulation
    • Scale for ranking each aspect
    • Different weighting of aspects by libraries
    • They’re also looking at models for school libraries and accessibility needs

Business models: what’s next?

  • Testing the scorecard – weighting features
  • Reports on school libraries, accessibility
  • Critique of pry-per-use models
  • Beyond the big 6: mid size, independents, self publishing

Further out

  • Impact of new consumer models
  • Other formats – video, music, news
  • New forms of publications – serial, integrative, dynamic

Thinking about future directions

  • Outside the library community
  • looking at better licensing terms for the big publishers and distributors
  • also improved technical specs and operational systems
  • Smaller and mid sized publishers – pursue aggressively how to get widespread library ebook access
  • self publishing – how to engage libraries
  • cutting edge tech more generally – how could/should libraries engage in the context of ebooks (ie, maker spaces, etc)

Within the library community

  • Systems to enable libraries to manage ebooks directly
  • Libraries as publishers or distributors
  • Re-invisioning the role of book lending in the digital era

Who will do all this?

  • who are the players
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the players
  • Who should do what and by when
  • Who will pay for it
  • Where is ala best situated

And now the panel: Jamie LaRue, Matt Tempelis, George Coe

George Coe – thinks a one book, simultaneous access model simply won’t work. I’d disagree with that

thinks we’ll see rental models

Jamie – go directly to authors, instead of through the distributor or the publisher

Matt at 3M says they don’t have a good working model yet that they feel comfortable with.

They want 3-4 models …

Jamie disagrees. Because the fundamental distribution model is wrong.

Self published and emerging stories – dont show up in libraries, even though they are best sellers

Moving from a consumer community to a content creator community. How do you discover this, sample this, collect and share it, etc. how do we get to the heart of that and participate

What should libraries be doing more of

Jamie – less talking more action

Where does local news come form if there’s no newspaper? It could be the library…

Find new ways to add value

Jamie – how do you display digital content? Because displaying books moves books

Ownership?

Jamie. – yes, we need ownership.

Leasing model -ok with high-traffic items. So you don’t have too keep 100 copies forever, because we can’t sell these ebooks on secondary markets after the fact

Matt – says if we had a ton of money,  someone needs to prove that libraries help well books. Um, I think pew and others have already proved that. He didn’t think they proved it enough…

Jamie – recommends creating your own infrastructure. Maybe we can put that million dollars to work at an organization who can do this for us. Rather than having individual libraries creating their own system.

Need some sort of acquisition system. Another infrastructure thing needs to be built for this.

Q & A time:

Jamie’s catalog has a button that says “do you want to be a writer” with resources, and an ask for the book at the end. It’s a way to help authors and get local content

I Was Hacked!

On Wednesday night, I was hacked.

OK, more appropriately, I received a weird text message with a web link, and I apparently clicked that link, not really thinking about it.

And that somehow opened the door to my gmail account, which then started sending out hundreds of emails to all my contacts.

Well that’s embarrassing.

What did I do? Well, first, I received a few quick tweets and texts, saying “oh oh, I think you’ve been hacked!” (thanks guys for being so fast!). Then I wasted no time in accessing my email account and changing my password. Then deleting all those emails, answering a bunch of emails (i.e., “yes, I was hacked. Don’t click that link. Sorry!”), etc.

Blake over at LISHost (my web hosted) even shut down my website for a few minutes once he saw that I had been hacked – Blake and LISHost is awesome, as always!

Moral of the story?

  • Don’t click weird text message links :-)
  • Or – pay attention. I wasn’t.
  • Don’t click those “what were you doing in this video” messages that you probably get in Twitter.
  • If you get a wierd email from me or from someone else with a web link in it, don’t click it!

On my phone, I also set up Google Authenticator. It’s an app from Google that works with Google’s 2-step verification, and provides an additional layer of security when signing in. And prevents stuff like what I did last night.

Because, well, you know … it happened to me, it can happen to you, too.

Interesting to Us or to our Customers?

I was just reading a blog post on Seth Godin’s blog about stuff being interesting. His main point – is it interesting because it happened, or is it interesting because it happened to you?

That made me think – what stuff do libraries do “for our customers” that we find interesting or useful or amazing … but our customers – not so much?

Think about some of these things libraries have, for example:

  • Library Catalog – interesting to our customers?
  • Article Databases – interesting to our customers?
  • Periodicals reading room …
  • Reference desk …
  • Dewey Decimal System …
  • etc

I don’t have a big problem with anything listed above. But still – libraries pour a LOT of time, money, and expertise into each of these fairly traditional things libraries have and do. Do our customers really … REALLY … find them all that interesting?

Asked another way – is your periodicals reading room standing-room only? Is it hard to find a public computer because so many customers are using the catalog? Get the idea?

I think our goal should be two-fold:

  1. spend time, money, and expertise on stuff our customers care about
  2. do stuff that our customers care about

Not always easy to do, huh?

photo by abeckstrom

Makerbot – Bre Pettis interview at CES 2013

Just posting something from fellow library geek Jason Griffey. Did you know he’s like the ONLY librarian who goes to CES (i.e., Consumer Electronics Show)? This show is apparently HUGE, and there’s a lot of innovation that gets announced there.

This year – actually, the last couple of years – Jason has attended CES, and reported on what he found. One thing he found was the Makerbot booth and Bre Pettis, one of Makerbot’s founders.

In this video, Jason interviews Bre about what’s new for Makerbot, and what it might mean for libraries. Jason also has an accompanying blog post talking about new stuff for Makerbot.

Bre also mentions two books we should read before starting a hackerspace:

So – watch the video, read Jason’s post, read the books mentioned above … and make sure to subscribe to Jason’s blog, if you haven’t yet done that!

update – for some reason, the video disappeared. So I added it back in. Oops!

Make your Stuff Obvious

This sign was at our local shopping mall. Like any good blogging geek, I stopped and took a picture of it – to the chagrin of my kids, I’m sure (“Mom – Dad’s taking pictures of signs again!” – eye roll!)

But the sign made me think of a few things that I thought I’d share:

  1. The sign is nicely done – large, easy-to-read words.
  2. Just an interesting side-note – the sign’s in the shape of a smartphone. A few very short years ago, a phone that did wifi wouldn’t have made any sense. But we all easily get it now, don’t we?
  3. The message is clear, the service is obvious, the sign is hard to miss. You know exactly what they’re advertising.

Contrast that with the average wifi sign in a library. In most of our libraries, we make little, tiny, dinky-winky signs that say “wifi.” Usually provided to us by our wifi vendor. If we have signs at all [hmm… I wonder what our wifi signs look like? I’ll need to check].

But at the mall … where they really want you to stay awhile … the wifi sign is HUGE. This sign was almost as tall as me, folks! And right out in the walkway, standing close to the food courts (one place people would possibly use wifi for an extended period of time).

What do they want you to do at the mall? Stay awhile. Eat some food. Use their free wifi. And buy more stuff!

Now translate that to a library. What do we want our customers to do? Stay awhile? Eat more food (if you have a cafe)? Read/watch/listen to/download more content? Ask us questions? Attend our events? Probably all of those things (though I’ll bet most of us don’t spell those goals out quite like that).

Define what it is you want your customers to do, then make your branding, your promotion, your signage – what you want people to do while engaging with you – make it obvious.