Using Business Cards to Promote econtent

My library has a bunch of econtent – services like Freegal, OneClick Digital, Hoopla, OverDrive, Zinio, Treehouse, and Mango Languages.

Each of these tools point to real content – movies, music, books, magazines, and classes – but they live on the digital branch.

Our marketing department created a fun way to promote these econtent services by using business cards.

Each card has a word and an image on the front, and a brief description and a URL to the service on the back of the card.

We are using these cards to promote a bunch of services:

  • Music – promotes Freegal
  • Audiobooks – promotes OneClick Digital
  • Video – promotes Hoopla
  • Ebooks – promotes Overdrive
  • Language – promotes Mango
  • Magazines – promotes Zinio
  • Design & Program – promotes Treehouse

The idea? Place these cards around the building, hand them out at events, etc. Basically – give them to customers, so customers know about all this cool content we have. It’s one way of getting content that lives on the digital branch “out of the building.”

You can see the other cards we created over on my Flickr account.

Update: And here’s the back of the Music card, as an example of the info we provide.

LibraryBox 2.0 Kickstarter Project!

Have you heard about Jason Griffey’s LibraryBox project? It’s pretty cool … and it’s time for the next phase of the project – LibraryBox 2.0!

Jason has set up a Kickstarter project for LibraryBox … and it’s already funded. The main goal ($3000) was funded in like 2-3 hours.

But there’s 29 days left to go on the Kickstarter project, and Jason and LibraryBox have some really cool plans they want to develop to flesh out the LibraryBox project more, and YOU can be a part of that.

So watch the video, visit the pages, and think about funding Librarybox!

Ebooks and Econtent Brainstorming in Montana

ebook workshop in MontanaMichael Porter and I recently gave a 3-hour workshop on the econtent landscape at the Montana State Library Fall Workshop. During the workshop, we divided participants into groups, and asked them to do some brainstorming on three questions.

I posted the whole list of responses over at the Library Renewal blog (I’m a board member for Library Renewal), but I’m going to highlight a few responses here:

1. What do you want with ebooks?

  • Pricing: We want ebooks for a fair price, and we want to own what we buy.
  • Content: We want the popular stuff that we currently can’t get! We also want to help our customers create their own content.
  • Access issues: We want a “one copy/multiple users” model – not the old “one ebook/one patron” model.
  • Interface: We want an easy-to-use interface and standard, open ebook reader formats, so we can read all ebook file formats on any device. It should work with social tools like Facebook or Twitter, so we can share bookmarks and notes socially.
  • Marketing: We want customers to actually know we have ebooks!

DLK’s commentary: Honestly, we aren’t asking for much, and it’s all do-able. For example – Hachette’s recent price hike? At least they didn’t cut access. In the business world, that means they want to play – now, we just need to settle on a fair price. Now we just need Hachette’s frontlist titles, and we need Penguin, MacMillan, and Simon & Schuster to play along, too. Interface stuff – the fairly standard ePub format is out there … we just need Amazon to add it to the Kindle.

Marketing – that’s 100% us, guys. Want your customers to know you have ebooks? You HAVE TO TELL THEM. If Pew Internet is reporting that 58% of our library card holders don’t know if we have ebooks, then we either didn’t tell them, or we made a poor attempt at telling them. Let’s get this one right, ok?

2. What is realistic for your organization?

  • Consortiums: Start something with the state, set them up regionally. Partner with other organizations, like Califa.
  • Marketing: Share what’s happening in the ebook world with Montana citizens.
  • Education: Help people with ebook reader devices, and teach leaders higher-up why funding for econtent is necessary.
  • DIY: Build our own platform, and go directly to publishers and authors for the access.
  • Pricing: Start working with publishers to get ebooks costing the same price as print books.

DLK’s Commentary: Lots of good ideas here. One good way to tackle pricing, especially for all the small, rural libraries in Montana, is via some type of consortium pricing model. And again, we can do something about marketing and about education. These are all definitely very do-able and realistic.

3. What can you do to make what’s realistic actually happen?

  • Find a Leader: Set up a central clearinghouse or coordinator. State Library could take the lead on this.
  • Government: Talk to local representatives and get them involved. Make the ebook case at the local, regional, and state levels. Make sure that local ALA Council reps actually represent what Montana wants to do.
  • Funding: Find it! Change priorities at a local level so there’s money in the library budget.
  • Education: Educate public and staff about the issues, formats, and potential problems. Confirm the importance of econtent at the local level.
  • Adaptability: Enhance what the local library does. Start conversations with local publishers.

DLK’s Commentary: I love the idea of getting  local and state reps educated and involved in our current econtent access and funding issues. We might not be able to do much nationally, but I wonder if we could start something locally or statewide, and then get that moved up to a national level?

Also, working locally with small, local publishers, or even authors, is a great way to start, too.

What’s missing here?

Doing Your Part in the Library Ebook Wars

ebookWhen talking to librarians about ebooks and econtent, I often hear things like this: “we can’t do anything – we’re just a small public library going up against Amazon/Apple/Barnes & Noble/fill in the blank.” Or “we don’t have the right connections” or maybe “we don’t have the resources we’d need to do something.” Etc.

I think we CAN do something. Many somethings. From my library alone, here’s what we’re currently doing:

  • Our Ebooks for Libraries campaign – going for 10,000 signatures on a petition that will be mailed to the big six publishers, asking for books in all formats for libraries.
  • Our community novel project – our community is writing a serialized novel, and we plan to publish the finished novel in print and in ebook formats. This is a small step in teaching our community that they can “do it themselves.”
  • We have two staff members on the Library Renewal board – we’re giving time and expertise to organizations that are trying to make a difference.
  • We have staff members on ALA boards – this one is indirectly related, but it gives us a say at the table when ebook-related issues get raised. And again, it’s giving time and expertise to organizations that have the potential to make a difference for libraries.

Other libraries and organizations that are trying to make a difference?

  • Douglas County Libraries – you might have read about they are purchasing ebooks directly from publishers, and serving them back out to customers? Here’s an article with more info on that.
  • Califa, a California-based library consortium, is doing a similar thing.

And those are just six examples – I’m guessing there are many others out there (and please – if I missed a major one, share the details in the comments!). My point? You CAN do something about it. Whatever “it” is to you and your organization, there are definitely ways to start successfully tackling the issue.

Why tackle this particular issue? Read Jason Griffey’s recent post about Amazon’s Lending Library. Amazon wants your customers to borrow from THEM. For free (well, after the purchase of a Kindle and an Amazon Prime subscription, anyway).

Sound like a challenge to you? Let’s meet that challenge head-on, folks!

ebook pic by nikkorsnapper

Library Renewal: Zine and Song Debut

From the Library Renewal blog – The debut of our first video here at Library Renewal features our first brochure/zine and also features the debut of the first song made for Library Renewal. PS-We fixed the typo! Thanks for catching it! :)

You can get a copy of the zine as a thank you gift for your donation to Library Renewal by going here: http://libraryrenewal.org/donate

You can also see some higher quality images of pages from the brochure here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/libraryrenewal/sets/72157626867255283/

The song is performed by Portland band, Lackethereof and we are grateful for their support here. Thanks, Danny!

 

Me again – make sure to find out more about Library Renewal by visiting our website (or by following us on Facebook or Twitter), signing up for the newsletter, etc. We are gearing up to do some pretty cool things, so stay tuned for that!