The sun is out in Ohio, giving us a chance to see first-hand the progress being made on our new Blue Sky Campus. We’re near feverish with excitement about getting into the new building and equally excited about the ways it will support the eBook industry.
From the press release:
“OverDrive’s new tech campus will help accelerate the adoption of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video currently served through our 18,000 school, library and retail channel partners,” said Lori Soukup, OverDrive’s Chief Operating Officer, who is leading the campus development project. “We are proud to enable the world’s leading authors, publishers and studios to reach hundreds of millions of readers in 27 countries.”
The Blue Sky Campus will include a 95,000-square-foot facility on 12 acres of land, complete with outdoor meeting space, a small pond and a 0.3-mile walking path. The LEED-certified headquarters will include two indoor basketball courts, a fitness and wellness area, and digital test labs and training centers for the school and library training sessions we host year-round.
OverDrive is proud to continue its investment in Northeast Ohio. Not only is this the place CEO Steve Potash founded OverDrive in 1986, it’s also full of talented professionals and home to some of the most renowned libraries in the country, including the Cuyahoga County Public Library and Cleveland Public Library.
Jeff Morgan is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive.
There are some seriously bizarre weekly observations during the month of February. There’s Jello Week, Consumer Protection Week, National Secondhand Wardrobe Week and Pancake Week. Does anyone actually celebrate these things? With the exception of Love Your Pet Week (if you’re only doing this for one week, you probably should reconsider pet-ownership), we’ve been much too busy to participate in this tomfoolery, as we’ve been working to partner with all of these awesome publishers below.
Wisconsin Historical Society Press
I feel that one of the greatest, most unacknowledged wonders of the world is the fact that Minnesota is known for its ten thousand lakes, but Wisconsin is known for its cheese heads. They’ve got fifteen thousand lakes, and yet still the slogan “We’ve got more lakes than Minnesota” hasn’t caught on. Maybe you didn’t know Wisconsin had one hundred lakes, let alone, 150 times that. Maybe all you knew about Wisconsin was that Milwaukee is pronounced mee-lee-wah-kay, which is Algonquin for ‘the good land.’ If you fall into any of the categories above, its due time you check out some of the titles from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. From butter to beer to Paul Bunyan, the badger state has never looked so great.
Innovative Language Learning
Ever stop and wonder how Waldo manages to travel around the world? Clearly he’s pretty well-off financially, but is he multilingual too? How else can one explain his uncanny ability to immerse himself in the native culture, lollygagging with his new found foreign friends? Clearly he must be hip to the collection of audiobooks and eBooks from Innovative Language Learning, one of our newest suppliers. With over 35 languages to choose from, he can order dessert in Denmark, count change in Cantonese, practice rhetoric Romania, and no one would suspect that it’s not his native tongue. Come to think of it, I’m not sure he even has a tongue; I don’t think he’s ever showed it in the pictures.
Doing anything other than sitting or standing still in high heels isn’t easy. Trust me, I’ve tried, and let just say I had quite the exorbitant hospital bill after that. Clearly, this is not the case for Maddie Springer, star of Gemma Halliday’s High Heels Mysteries series. Not only can the fashion-designer-turned-sleuth walk in high heels, but she can run in high heels and chase down bad guys in high heels. I’d be willing to bet she could even toss a pizza crust in the air, in high heels. She’s just that good. If high heels aren’t your thing, don’t skip out on the other titles from this National Reader’s Choice award winner; Halliday’s books are snappy, suspenseful and sure to have you dying of laughter.
No, we didn’t partake in National Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day, or National Cook a Sweet Potato Day. Instead, we’re celebrating National Look at all these Publishers who joined team OverDrive this month Week. You should probably join in on the festivities.
Premier Digital Publishing
Presse de l’Universite du Quebec
Screen Media Ventures
Beaver’s Pond Press
Amy Kaufman is a Publisher Partner Services Specialist for OverDrive.
We’re excited to be in Philadelphia this week for the PLA conference, at which we will be showcasing some of the exciting features we have been developing over the past several months. OverDrive recently announced the WIN Catalog, an integrated suite of new features designed to connect readers with books and authors. We aren’t just ready to talk about the WIN Catalog, we’re ready for you to see it in person.
The WIN Catalog isn’t the only service enhancement we’ll have on display at booth #818. We’re also excited to showcase live programs like Smart Lists and Test Drive and to see a demo of the future of browser-based reading.
From the press release:
The OverDrive catalog features more than 700,000 popular eBook and audiobook titles—including J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series—and is growing at a rate of 30,000 titles per month. OverDrive’s new WIN Catalog and Test Drive™ program complement unique, popular features such as Kindle® compatibility (U.S. only) and the OverDrive Advantage plan, which gives libraries participating in shared collections the ability to offer popular titles exclusively for their patrons. Also at PLA, OverDrive will discuss how their recent acquisition of Australian eBook company Booki.sh will enable browser-based reading on all OverDrive platforms, and how the forthcoming OverDrive APIs will allow partner libraries to seamlessly integrate digital titles into existing online catalogs.
You can read more about OverDrive’s presence at PLA at the OverDrive news page. Please be sure to stop by booth #818 to engage with current and upcoming service enhancements from OverDrive, the leading global distributor of eBooks and audiobooks for libraries and schools.
Jeff Morgan is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive
OverDrive is excited to announce the pilot launch of the WIN Catalog for the library channel, an integrated suite of new features designed to connect readers with books and authors. Designed with input from libraries and publishers, the WIN Catalog creates a win-win-win scenario for publishers, libraries and readers. Announced in 2011, we’re proud to say we’ve delivered the following features to provide unprecedented opportunities for publishers to maximize discovery of titles and build long-term relationships with readers.
‘Buy It Now’
More than 50 percent of library users go on to purchase books by an author they first discovered in the library. The library’s new ‘Buy It Now’ feature makes those purchases easy, allowing users to discover titles from their library’s digital collection and instantly link to online booksellers offering the title for sale. A portion of each sale is credited back to the referring library as an affiliate fee in the form of OverDrive content credit. The Buy It Now feature gives readers instant access to new content while supporting collection development at their local library. Participating booksellers in the US include Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksonBoard.com and Powell’s.
More than 75 US libraries currently offer this feature. It’s also in pilot at Hampshire County Council in the UK with plans for expansion to additional retailers and markets in the coming weeks.
To Participate: All OverDrive publisher partners with digital lending rights are automatically enrolled in the Buy It Now program. Patrons can purchase titles provided the title is available from one of the affiliated retail partners.
Discovery of mid- and backlist titles with option to ‘Recommend to Library’
We want to encourage readers to discover authors and books beyond their local library’s selection and, in turn, encourage libraries to expand the breadth of their digital collections. With OverDrive’s WIN catalog, users can select ‘Additional Titles’ to view full publisher catalogs from those participating in library lending, including midlist and backlist titles their local library may not have purchased. Users can then choose to sample an excerpt, ’Buy It Now’ or ‘Recommend to Library.’ Libraries are able to view a list of recommended titles and set up purchasing plans based on recommended titles.
To Participate: Titles from OverDrive publisher partners that permit sales to the library channel are automatically included in the ‘Additional Titles’ and ‘Recommend to Library’ features.
Book & Author Impressions
In addition to enabling discovery of hundreds of thousands of eBook and digital audiobook titles, the WIN Catalog will offer new opportunities for book and author impressions. As mentioned above, more than 50 percent of library users go on to purchase books by an author they first discovered in the library. That highly qualified audience will now be able to directly connect with books and authors through event pages, book trailers, author fan pages, Facebook pages and more.
To Participate: Book & Author Impressions are in closed pilot at this time. We will have more information and participation guidelines in the near future.
The WIN catalog is already live with select pilot library partners, including Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH), Rochester Public Library (MN), New York Public Library, Boston Public Library, Poudre River Public Library (CO) and Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. Additional libraries are expected to follow, shortly. In the meantime, readers at our pilot libraries will have the ability to connect with authors and books from OverDrive publisher partners like never before.
eBooks continued to make a big splash last year in both the library and retail channels. Consumers are purchasing more than ever, and new research shows that many of those consumers are heading to booksellers following a visit to their local libraries. Undeniably, libraries have proven to be an invaluable source of discovery for books and authors.
According to Library Journal, regular public library users don’t just borrow books. “They are also active book buyers who make many of their purchasing decisions based on the authors or books they first discover in the library. In fact, over 50 percent of all library users go on to purchase books by an author they were introduced to in the library.” Indeed, the Digital Book Census states that more people are paying for eBooks. “Nearly two thirds (62.9%) of people say they have paid for an eBook, compared to less than half (46.9%) a year ago.” Now, OverDrive is making it even easier for library website visitors to purchase eBooks with the WIN Affiliates program, which allows for one-click access to national and independent booksellers directly from the library site.
Publishers are also making more sales to the library channel, as well. According to Library Journal’s study “Patron Profiles” (referred to on the The Digital Shift), libraries are meeting the increased demand for eBooks by creating more robust collections. “Public libraries increased their offerings by 185 percent. In turn, they also have dedicated more of their budgets to eBooks.” As Ruth Liebmann, Random House VP, said recently regarding the library channel: “A sale is a sale.” She even noted that libraries are a revenue stream that publishers like Random want to “protect, even grow.”
In addition to the direct sales that result from library websites, titles and authors are also receiving massive discovery via millions of impressions. How? Many library website visitors simply use the site for research and discovery. Based on recent data, OverDrive estimates that 60 percent of end-users did not check out a digital title, yet still visited 13 pages on average. In 2011, title impressions exceeded 1 billion, up from 700 million in 2010. And this will only grow with the launch of the ‘WIN Catalog’ (this week in pilot at a few select libraries) in which entire backlists will be searchable on library websites (with option to buy now through the WIN Affiliates Program). Check back for updates.
If you are already selling eBooks via retail channels, that’s a great first step. When considering other channels and promotional opportunities, include public libraries in your plans. For more information, contact email@example.com now to reserve your spot.
Mobile use is growing, and the updated OverDrive® Media Console™ v2.4 for Android™, BlackBerry® and Windows Phone has got new features your customers will love to use more of.
Now, users can find definitions while reading using the dictionary lookup feature or even more information from Wikipedia. OverDrive’s Mobile Apps are compatible with EPUB eBooks and MP3 audiobooks.
The system requirements are still the same. The free apps can be installed on phones and devices running…
- Android v1.5 (or newer)
- Touch screen BlackBerry OS v4.7 (or newer)
- Non-touch screen BlackBerry OS v4.5 (or newer)
- Windows Phone 7 (or newer)
Users with OverDrive Media Console already installed will get a notification that an update is available.
The updated app is also available from:
OMC v2.4 for iOS—iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®—is coming soon for iOS v4.0 (or newer).
Brianne Carlon is a public relations specialist for OverDrive.
Happy New Years, faithful Digital Distribution Blog readers. It should please you all to know that we’re kicking off 2012 with a bang, adding content from publishers around the clock. So now that our gifts have been gifted, our champagne bottles popped, our streamers streamed, and the ball has dropped, it’s time to cuddle up with some good reads from the new publishers who’ve joined the OverDrive family during this occasionally (in the Midwest particularly) snow-filled month.
Paging all healthcare professionals; the OverDrive catalog is about to get clinical. From leading independent nursing, medicine and health science publisher, F.A. Davis is stocking our metaphorical shelves with eBooks to quench your thirst for knowledge at every stage of your career. Whether you’re transitioning from a registered nurse to a nurse practitioner, boning up on phlebotomy, or you’re just enamored by anatomy, the regimen from F.A. Davis is sure to be just what the doctor ordered.
Handy men and women, roll out your fanciest tarps and drop-cloths, because the DIY gods have graced us with one of their finest. Some may know him as the dean of home renovation and repair advice, others, as the former This Old House star, but we just know him as good old Bob Vila. Say goodbye to the days of poorly lacquered kitchen cabinets that you tell your friends are intentionally that color because they’re “rustic,” and hello to rich cherry finishes and custom made moldings. From Dutch Colonials and Gothic Revivals to bungalows and brown stones, the video collection from Bob Vila will take your home from drab to fab without breaking the bank.
Hailing from the land down under comes one of our newest publishers, with a catalog diverse enough to span from Perth to Brisbane and back again. While food and travel are its forte in non-fiction, Hardie Grant has a kid’s catalog that’s cuter than a kangaroo. Teaming up with Egmont UK, Hardie Grant Egmont is the largest Australian-owned independent children’s publisher. From Zac Power and Go Girl! to beloved classics Winnie-the-Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine, these adorable books will keep kids engaged, clawing like koalas, only not as violent.
Hold the phone; we’re adding content from more noteworthy publishers below!
Mitchell Lane Publishers
Pelican Publishing Company
International Creators Organization
Social Studies School Service
Greenbrier Book Company
Diane Chamberlain Books
Amy Kaufman is a publisher partner services specialist for OverDrive.
TVs, TVs and more TVs were the big draw at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. Everything from 3D TVs to LED to OLED lit up (literally) the tradeshow floor. Another big buzz word that has been repeated incessantly since CES—Ultrabook. But we won’t get into that now. Let’s focus on the tablets as there are some that could potentially be winners once they are officially released to the public.
Now available from AT&T for $299.99 (with a contract), the Pantech Element is sporting an 8-inch display. It’s not quite the 10-inch display of the iPad2, but it does have an inch more real estate than the 7-inch Toshiba Thrive. Running Android Honeycomb with a 1.5 GHz duel-core processor, it looks to be fairly speedy. It also comes equipped with rear and front cameras (5 and 2 megapixels, respectively).
Asus Memo 370T
Running Ice Cream Sandwich and a quad-core, NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM, the 7-inch Asus Memo 370T tablet might just be the game changer everyone has been waiting for. Unfortunately, we won’t know for sure until it is released sometime in Quarter 2 for $250. You’ll also find the device has an 8 megapixel camera and even HDMI output.
Acer Iconia Tab A700
Another Android tablet with Ice Cream Sandwich (it’s been customized though) and a 1.3 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the Acer Iconia Tab A700 includes a 10.1-inch display putting it in direct competition with the iPad. According to Engadget, this device was only ‘leaked’ at CES and may never come to market, which could be why there wasn’t any pricing information. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Lenovo Idea Tab S2
Ice Cream Sandwich comes up again with this new Android tablet from Lenovo. The Lenovo Idea Tab S2 is jumping into the 10-inch tablet market. However, the Idea Tab S2 only weighs 20 ounces. While it is running Ice Cream Sandwich it only includes a dual-core 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor. The processor isn’t anything to sneeze at, though. Also looking at a second quarter 2012 release, I’m definitely interested to see this one in person.
Of course this is just a small sampling of the many tablets that were featured at this year’s CES. Hopefully as they are made available to the public, I’ll be able to get my hands on them for future reviews.
Megan Greer is an account specialist for OverDrive.
Due to the rapid expansion of device compatibility and consumer awareness, eBook discovery and online reader visits at libraries and schools worldwide experienced triple digit growth in 2011.
Key statistics for library eBooks, audiobooks and digital media from OverDrive-powered ‘Virtual Branch’ websites in 2011 include:
- 1.6 billion book and title catalog pages viewed, up 130% from 2010
- 99.5 million visitor sessions, up 107%
- Mobile device use increased to 22% of all checkouts
- 35 million digital titles checked out in 2011, with 17 million holds
- The OverDrive catalog for libraries now includes 700,000 copyrighted eBook, audiobook, music, and video titles in 52 languages, including 300,000 titles added in 2011
- In 2011 OverDrive Media Console (free eBook and audiobook apps) was installed by 5 million users (up 84%) bringing the total install base to 11 million
- Readers used OverDrive eBooks on all desktop and major smartphone and e-reading platforms including Android, iPhone®, iPod touch®, iPad®, Windows® Phone and BlackBerry®, as well as Kindle®, NOOK™, Sony® Reader and others.
At the ALA Midwinter Conference OverDrive will demonstrate new digital book discovery services to help libraries meet eBook demand. These include a new OverDrive “All Digital” catalog feed that will provide library visitors immediate access to browse and sample entire publisher and author eBook and audiobook backlist and long tail collections regardless of whether the library has acquired units for lending. For participating libraries, the service also features patron-driven acquisition options and “Buy it Now” links connecting readers with booksellers, which in turn pay the referring library affiliate fees for all referrals that result in a sale.
Brianne Carlon is a public relations specialist for OverDrive.
eBooks have pushed so many boundaries, stretching our imaginations further than we once thought possible. From carrying around 1,000 books in our pockets to instantly downloading and reading bestsellers—even on the beach—it seems that nearly anything is possible.
Today, there is another trend emerging with eBooks: a social experience. The online world is built on connections, whether they are professional links, social “Likes” or tiny tweets. Many, including publishers and app developers, have started experimenting with adding this element to reading. And while maybe there are some who disagree, enhanced eBooks can be intriguing. Here are a couple of examples that have piqued our interest lately:
From 21 audio tracks included with the book Country Music: The Masters to an update of the 1980s Practical Meditation for Busy Souls that now includes audio with guided meditations, Sourcebooks has been a leader on the enhanced-eBook front. According to the publisher, “These innovative digital books allow for immersion experiences within the book—seamlessly integrating audio, video, and images into the text and creating ‘you are there’ adventures you won’t soon forget.”
Disney has continued to push boundaries with interactive eBooks, which it introduced in February 2011. With Disney Digital Books opened on computer screens, children can use Disney’s magic pen to operate Pen Puzzlers (interactive puzzles featuring favorite Disney characters), hear words pronounced, find definitions and access additional help—enhancing readers’ opportunities for learning and fun.
Readmill, a small company in Berlin, is taking eBook sharing to yet another level. Readmill’s iPad app allows readers to annotate books, share those comments, track what their friends are reading and even view their annotations, all of which creates a social reading experience. This leaves the door wide open for the story to be expanded. In fact, author Aaron Gustafson added commentary to his own book. Now, those who read it through Readmill can view his extended story. Other companies, including Goodreads, OpenMargin and Amazon are creating similar sharing experiences.
So where will eBooks go next? It is really up to you, the publishers. EPUB3 promises animation, interactivity, audio, video and other content not previously available for eBooks. Perhaps teachers could add their notes or texts to classic literature taught in English class—via video. Or maybe we are taken to an interactive version of “Under the Sea” in The Little Mermaid. A whole world of possibilities awaits us.
Brianne Carlon is a public relations specialist for OverDrive.