Morning Roundup: Accidentally going digital. Libraries react to Kindle Unlimited

kindle-unlimited-rumor620x350Accidentally Going Digital (Book Riot)
I suppose this led to a gradual build-up of digital in my life, as books I really, really wanted to read were available, but only digitally. So what choice did I have? Lacking that choice meant more and more digital, and I suppose less and less thinking about it.
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Scholastic to Close Storia Bookstore; Customers Could Lose Access to their eBook Purchases (The Digital Reader)
This US publisher announced in April that they will be changing their Storia ebook platform from a retail service to a subscription service, and as part of that transition Scholastic recently announced that they are shutting down the retail side of the operation.
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Is Next Issue Good for Canadians? (GoodeReader)
Next Issue has over 100 digital magazines in their catalog and offers a free one month subscription. Afterwards, it costs $9.99 a month to read as much as you want. Well, there is a catch, you don’t get People, Hello! Canada, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Maclean’s, or Time unless you pony up $14.99 a month.
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Librarians, Media React to Launch of Kindle Unlimited (The Digital Shift)
In a long-expected move, Amazon on July 18 announced the launch of Kindle Unlimited, a new subscription service that will give users unlimited access to a selection of 600,000 ebooks and more than 2,000 audiobooks on Amazon Kindle devices and any device with a Kindle app for $9.99 per month.
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Kindle Daily Deal: The Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (and others)

11 Comments on Morning Roundup: Accidentally going digital. Libraries react to Kindle Unlimited

  1. Talk about whistling past a graveyard, I quote:

    ——–
    From a library perspective, Kindle Unlimited seems unlikely to affect demand for library materials at all,” said Sarah Houghton, director of California’s San Rafael Public Library (SRPL) and blogger at LibrarianInBlack.net. “Six hundred thousand titles is not a lot. Our library participates in Link+, a cooperative lending project that makes tens of millions of titles from libraries across California and Nevada available in print to our communities—at no charge to them.”
    ——-

    “At all”–particularly when the alternative is interlibrary loan that can take weeks and perhaps tilts heavily toward old academic rather than new fiction? Not a sensible attitude to have. Remember, print loans take two trips to the library. One to pick it up and the other to return it by the deadline.

    No, I would worry. Parents checking out kids books will continue to do fine. But much of the support for public libraries comes from adult readers who like a particular genre of new fiction. For that, interlibrary loan will come up short. If Amazon can deliver that to them in seconds at home, public libraries will lose the attention of some of their strongest supporters. They’ll even save the cost of that $10 subscription in gas and travel time. I’d be worried, very worried.

    Were I a librarian, I’d look for alternatives that are as effective as Kindle Unlimited or better. Work with publishers to offer a huge selection of titles with no limits on simultaneous checkouts. Instead have per-checkout fees. Even the vile Obama administration DOJ isn’t going to take public libraries to court alleging a foul ‘price-fixing’ conspiracy.

    And librarians should not neglect to hint to major publishers that getting friendly with public libraries is a good way to make life a bit harder for Amazon. Amazon’s drive to dominate everything connected with books has local libraries as much in its sights as it does that local bookstore. Kindle Unlimited illustrates that.

  2. Laughs at Michael.

    See many other articles about how the Big 5 Dinosaur publishers feel about libraries. Being charged hyper inflated prices (if available at all) and limited to only 26 uses before having to purchase the item again. For ebooks. They make the rules we either bite the bullet and pay or just do not carry their books. The library system where Sarah Houghton is is one of the leading ones to do away with anything from the Big 5 and host self published authors on a library generated service.

    The people who want genre fiction and only want it in dead tree format will continue to use the library and the 2 trips are not a big deal. They are often in 3 or 5 times a week anyway.

    The people who read digital place the hold from home, get the email, it drops off their device automatically with no library intervention. People love it.

    Our customer counts are down significantly for checking out dead trees but our total usage is higher than it has ever been.

  3. @BOB, I’m curious. Do you have any data for percentage of books returned early (via the Return this Book function on either Amazon or Overdrive) vs the number of people who just let it expire? I wonder about that just about every time I return a book.

  4. I do not know off the top of my head but I sent in a request to our head of databases who might be able to answer for us.

  5. I’m a fast reader, and I make a particular effort to return a library ebook within 24 hours if it’s popular or new.

    Most are returned within two day. So, the return button data doesn’t necessarily mean that books aren’t good or whatever.

    As a Mac user, I CAN’T return an Overdrive audiobook, even when I’m finished or don’t want to finish it, so that messes up that data, too.

  6. @Marilynn, I wasn’t looking at returns as a function of quality. I wonder how many people are aware of the function and use it. I also return as quickly as I can, except of course, when the thing fails. I have a book right now I have returned via Amazon, but my library still shows it as checked out, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Hope not too many people wanted it because it’s out of circulation for the full three weeks.

    @BOB, thanks!

  7. Juli, try going to your account and downloading another copy of the book that refuses to be returned. With Overdrive, I can usually return that second copy.

  8. And I pretty much deliberately went digital after two months of switching off between the two. I found I just wasn’t reading at all when it was a paper book because I so appreciated the adjustable fonts and the lightness of the ereader. I felt pretty guilty about passing my paper books off to Goodwill and rebuying them digitally but at least I did get them read.

  9. @Marilynn, I tried that. Because Amazon considers it as returned in their system, they won’t let me download it again. If I’d borrowed the epub version, your suggestion would work.

  10. I heard back from our database person today.

    She said that we do not get that kind of data out of the Overdrive service.

    Sorry.

  11. @BOB, no problem. Thanks for asking!

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