This past weekend over 550 public, school, and special librarians from around the world gathered in Cleveland for Digipalooza 2013 to discover what’s next in the world of digital media. Representatives from major publishing houses HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, AudioGo/Blackstone and others presented their upcoming titles and participated in panels about the future of digital lending models. Skip Dye discussed the merger of Random House and Penguin, and eBook, video, and audiobook suppliers discussed plans for simultaneous use models and classroom sets for the school market.
OverDrive CEO Steve Potash’s opening and closing remarks previewed coming initiatives and explained how deeper engagement with patrons will lead to better content becoming available. Steve stressed that opt-in “permissions based” programs, in which users could provide detail about reading preferences will offer the ability to sync devices as well as offer valuable information to libraries to maximize circulation and discoverability.
Keynote speaker Mitch Albom told the story of his journey from college student to sportswriter to best-selling author when he detailed his experience with his professor that would become ’Tuesdays with Morrie.’ Mitch previewed his upcoming book ‘The First Phone Call from Heaven’ by reading the opening pages to a captivated audience. He closed with two remarks that will surely appeal to librarians everywhere when he said “I fervently believe in the importance of libraries” and that it is essential to “Never tell a child a book is too hard for them to read!”
Hot button presentations covered topics including consortium sharing, content restricting for school partners, collection discovery (both in-library through OverDrive Media Station and via library website OPACs using OverDrive APIs) as well as browser-based reading via OverDrive Read. Attendees had the opportunity to share their thoughts during town hall round table discussions with members of Team OverDrive, providing invaluable feedback that will help shape the roadmap of our products and services.
The conference was full of fun highlights as well: the opening session began with a ‘Glee moment” when the Garfield Heights High School drama club performed a rousing rendition of ‘Be Our Guest’. Attendees were treated to a Friday night out at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum complete with dinner, drinks and live entertainment and had the opportunity to discover Cleveland on Saturday night as well. Before Steve Potash closed out the events with his Crystal Ball Report, ten librarians took place in a ‘Family Feud’ type showdown for a chance to win Google Nexus 7 tablets!
Digipalooza offers a unique opportunity for industry leaders in the library, publishing and vending worlds to gather and continue to shape the digital world. Follow OverDrive on Facebook and Twitter to see more highlights from the thrilling weekend!
Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive
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