|Issue #18 April
It's been a few months since the last issue of the Mind Like Water Monthly, but hopefully in the meantime you've been creating, publishing or reading ebooks! This newsletter has a different look for 2004, but our goal is still the same: helping the ebook community. We'll be focusing our attention on what it takes to get your ebooks into the library market. And for those of you who just want to read a good book, we'll still be featuring great nonfiction, fiction and kids titles by ebook authors.
In March I had the opportunity to take a spring break and attend OeBF's eBooks in the Public Library Conference in New York City. The Open eBook Forum is an international trade and standards organization for the electronic publishing industries. They put together an excellent, one-day conference addressing the issues surrounding ebooks in public libraries, with presentations by individuals from the various sectors that comprise and impact this market. I'll be sharing the highlights of this conference with you further below. The highlights of the Big Apple were the majestic Statute of Liberty, the vibrant city streets and, of course, the bagels.
As you may remember, Mind Like Water is working with Follett Corporation to make ebook titles available to Follett's library distributors (Follett Library Resources: K-12 school libraries, and BWI: public libraries). I personally met with Follett's V.P. of Follett Library and School Group, who is spearheading ebooks in libraries, at the conference. Mind Like Water has finalized its contract with Follett, and they are ready for us to connect them with as many ebook authors as possible. If you are ready to gain access to thousands of libraries, then don't miss our special Follett Library Marketing newsletter issue coming out the first of week of May.
Bookworm in the Big Apple:
Observations on the eBooks in the Public Library Conference
I'd like to share with you some of the interesting things I learned at the eBooks in the Public Library Conference I attended last month in New York City. This was a one-day conference hosted by the Open eBook Forum (OeBF). The panels addressed such issues as: The Budget Crisis in Public Libraries - Are Digital Libraries a Solution?; New Sources for eBook Content for Libraries; Who's Hot and Who's Not in the eBook Market; and eBook Pricing - What is the Cost of this eBook and Who Can Use It? Presenters ranged from librarians to ebook vendors and technology providers, and included the New York Public Library, Cleveland Public Library and American Library Association, Follett, netLibrary, Fictionwise and HarperCollins, and Microsoft and Adobe. OeBF has made the presentations available online.
As most of you are probably already aware, public libraries are facing decreasing budgets, and the consequences of that are driving libraries' need for digital content. Almost 99 percent of the 116,000+ libraries are connected to the Internet. More and more libraries are beginning to work with ebook vendors and technology providers to set up systems that will allow patrons to check out and download ebooks from the libraries' web sites. Cleveland Public Library, King County Library System, and Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library are examples of libraries testing new technologies in ebook adoption. King County Library System had 7,500 ebook checkouts during the first three months of their new system.
Traditional ebook checkout systems offered by libraries use the one ebook-one user model, just as with print books. According to Baker & Taylor, that doesn't maximize the benefits of e-publishing. Baker & Taylor and others are developing new business models for libraries, such as simultaneous ebook checkouts for an incrementally increased price, lifecycle pricing that reflects the value of content during peak periods, and models for distance learning and extended use.
One of the themes I heard over and over again is that libraries need more digital content. The number of titles available in electronic format is a mere fraction of the number of titles available in print. Librarians and ebook vendors would like to see simultaneous print and electronic publishing. The presenter from publisher HarperCollins noted that there are obstacles to overcome before that will be a common occurrence. These are issues related to author/agent contracts (e.g., rights, royalties, piracy, and the perception of cannibalization of print sales), book production, and the fact that certain genres haven't proven themselves yet in the electronic format (e.g., illustrated books, cookbooks and travel guides).
Several presenters, including Gale, HarperCollins and Indianapolis-Marion County Library, expressed excitement about the potential of audio books. It was pointed out that Apple sold 807,000 iPods - a device for downloading audio files, just in the last quarter. The Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center is part of a national network of libraries servicing people who are not able to use standard print because of a visual, physical, or learning disability.
You might be interested to know which genres have the most appeal to libraries. Here are some comments from presenters at the conference:
- New York Public Library: Much of their funding for books goes toward serving K-12 children; business and computer titles are too academic; mainstream and literary fiction, and books related to everyday life (e.g., travel, home repair, job hunting) are the most popular.
- Cleveland Public Library: Romances and bestsellers are the most popular genres.
- King County Library System: Checkout of ebooks mirrors that of retail. The most popular fiction genres are science fiction and thrillers. Five of their top 20 circulating titles are young adult titles.
- Baker & Taylor: In the beginning, thought nonfiction would be the most popular genre, but have since learned that fiction is the genre of interest.
- HarperCollins: Romance, business, health and religion are the genres that make good
I'll finish my observations by sharing the President of OeBF's comment during the opening remarks of the conference that libraries will drive broad ebook adoption. It is his opinion that public libraries, and not the Amazons and Barnes & Nobles, etc., should have been the focus of ebooks from the beginning, and that 2004 will be the year of a second leap forward for ebooks. Let's help make that happen!
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Talk to Doctors So They Will Listen
author: Patricia Loofbourrow, MD
genre: Health care
Practical, common-sense ways to better communicate with ANY doctor -- what to do to prepare for your visit, what NOT to do and say, how to make the most of the time you have with your doctor, and how to handle any problem situations that come up. Also, red flags to tell you when to get another doctor!
Visit Mind Like Water's eBook Catalog to read Patricia Loofbourrow's author bio.
The Money Program: How to Manage the 6 Stages of Wealth
author: Ann M. Marosy
genre: Personal finances
The Money Program is a practical guide that teaches as well as inspires readers to take charge of their finances and to become wealthy regardless of their current predicament. Based on the 6 natural laws of success, The Money Program includes a successful business formula to manage your cash flows and eliminate debt.
Visit Mind Like Water's eBook Catalog for more titles by Ann Marosy and her author bio.
To Sculpt a Living Statue
author: Tal Boldo
genre: General fiction
A dramatic tale of lost innocence, love, and deadly affection. At its heart burns a series of unusual love stories filled with devotion and disappointment. In the peripheries hide the manipulators: parents who try to sculpt their children into reflections of their own lost hopes. In this setting, the young must learn to trust their own judgment and embrace life without fear, while the old must come to respect the right of every individual to his own life, or else lose their own. This dramatic, character-driven tale will draw you in with its mystery and romance, and change your view of innocence forever.
Visit Mind Like Water's eBook Catalog to read Tal Boldo's author bio.
author: Terry Shiels
genre: Horror: dream realm
Luther Hanley and his daughters built the Butterfly House one hundred years ago to escape the prison of time. Now two new owners find that the Hanleys may have escaped time only to become prisoners of the house itself. The first in T. K. Sheils' Jackson and Sabrina series.
Visit Mind Like Water's eBook Catalog for more titles by Terry Shiels and his author bio.
Inside a Snail's Shell
author: JennaKay Francis
illustrator: Jillian Crider
genre: Children's picture book
What's inside a snail's shell and what do snails do? Take a peek into a snail shell and find out just what goes on in a snail's cozy little retreat.
Visit Mind Like Water's eBook Catalog for more titles by JennaKay Francis and her author bio.
The Crystal Throne
author: Kathryn Sullivan
genre: Young adult fantasy
How would you cope with being pulled into a land where magic exists and you're the people's only hope? Peter Burns doesn't believe in magic. But when horses talk to you and a witch hound swoops out of the sky, how long can you disbelieve? Jeanne Tucker believes in magic, but she's teamed with someone who'd rather examine the special effects. The two must learn to work together in order to defeat witches and unravel a curse that has enslaved an entire land.
Visit Mind Like Water's eBook Catalog to read Kathryn Sullivan's author bio.
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