NYPL Brief ebooks presentation 10 5 12


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  • Introduce myself – poll audienceThe New York Public Library has offered downloadable popular e-content since 2004. Growth in size, scope, usage, biggest in US.online bookselling, growth e-reading, and the economic downturn all conspired to create enormous challenges to the book industry – libraries included. Some in that industry are reacting, the reactions have been quite varied, and public libraries are frequently caught in the middle.While we’re encouraged that top decision-makers in the book industry are finally paying closer attention to us – we’re not always encouraged by the assumptions they bring to their decisions.Many of you already know the generalities around big trade publishers limiting content to libraries, and understand that we could spend all day discussing its various aspects. I’m going to focus on what our own experience has been in learning what the stakeholder’s needs are, what our value is, and ideas for how libraries could be a better partner in that ecosystem. Whatever the future may be, it has to be one that satisfies the needs of everyone in that ecosystem, the readers most of all.
  • Lay the ground work by introducing the players in the supply chain – grossly over-simplified roles in italicsAll share the same goal: Connect good books to good readers. This is a model that has worked well for decades now.Only one of these players is not-for-profit.E-books are putting new pressures on these players. With the narrowing of retail outlets, the role of booksellers and wholesalers, which are based in print models, are being questioned.In the U.S., major publishers of popular content are now developing strategies to reach the reader directly. To build brand awareness and establish communities of readers around their titles.
  • Most publishers have not had a tradition of directly engaging the readers. Booksellers did the patron direct promoting, author talks, discussion groups and the like. Booksellers would pass back specific data about sales trends, reader interests and author performance.As showrooms close and you lose out to Amazon, you need to reach out to the consumer directly to promote your titles and authors, create discovery environements, and to find out crucial information about their evolving reading desires, device choices, and purchasing habits.So you get a bit desparate and make some attempts at online engagement or join together with other publishers to create social reading sites.
  • Publishers are trying to recreate what libraries, GoodReads and LibraryThing have already demonstrated. People will engage and track and recommend and discuss around books in an online space.Pub’s doing it from scratch, both the platform and the audience building.Seems like an awful lot of competition for the same reader. How many of these would you follow?
  • Going back to the supply chain, if the traditional roles of retailers and wholesalers are changing,And publishers see the need to direction engage communities of readers to promote their materials, drive sales and gain valuable market feedback,It is logical that the public library must revisit its role as well. We have not traditionally been looked upon by publishers as a means to drive sales or gain valuable market feedback. They do not understand our value.
  • We have the customer engagement, and we’re bringing it online.We have a valued, trusted relationship with our users. If we don’t step on that, we have a lot to offerSome of that offering looks exactly like what the others in the ecosystem need, right?
  • This is our level of online engagement.We realize we’re unique, we’re big, but we’re 1 out of thousands. This is a group of people who congregate around us, we actively grow this but we’re not in competition with others for this audience. So let me talk a little about ebook portion of this chart.
  • For popular e-content today, New York Public Library offers a selection.The top link is our Overdrive collection which we started in 2004.The 3M Cloud Library beneath it houses the pilot we just launched with Penguin Publishing two weeks ago. It is a small collection that is already getting consistent usage but we do not yet have much detail to report. We are also using the pilot to measure the 3M platform, which is new, and still lacks much functionality compared to Overdrive.We also have Bookflix, Freegal Music, and Tumblebooks.(Digital gallery and Google Books)
  • Here’s a snapshot of our usage. Notice that the total line at the top is trending upward.(Bookflix and Tumblebooks had a late in the school-year bump). In Reading Eco-system supply chain, if you don’t know much about libraries, this is not a nice chart. It can be quite threatening.
  • Overdrive is still our largest collection. We have over 123,000 items in this collection, representing nearly 45,000 titles ,and taken as a virtual “branch” alongside our 90 physical libraries, it’s #3 in monthly circulation.
  • This usage is despite the fact that the collection is almost too big for the discovery tool Overdrive has for it. It’s quite a fussy screen. When this was a small turn-key collection of a few thousand items, not a problem. Today, with 123,000 items in it, it’s not sufficient.
  • We were one of Overdrive’s partners in testing new services that are somewhat controversial in U.S. public libraries: Depending on your role in the reading ecosystem, you may have different reactions. Holds queueKindleAdvertisingAdditional TitlesBuy It Now
  • But controversy isn’t newSocial networking features – comfort levelCustomer ratings – comfort levelDRM – Digital Rights Management – comfort level—red herring849 patrons waiting for 171 copiesBUY IT NOW….
  • It has been our experience that users of our e-collections have a higher set of service expectations They understand 849 people can’t all read the same print copy of this title at the same time--just not physically possible.They do not bring that understanding to the e-book copy. They know it’s a digital file. If they can’t get it they’ll try elsewhere.Retail affiliations help us better serve their needs. New comfort level for us. Slight content credit for us.At this point trying to be agnostic and providing them with options.
  • So already, in a small way, we’re adding value to the Happy Reader Equation via the ebooks.nypl.org platform – Engaging the reader and letting them comment, rate, share, and if they want, fill their immediate need to acquire the book via the retail affiliates – letting them feel good about it in the process.In a controlled fashion, we’re letting the publishers market current titles and expose backlist that we don’t license and likely can’t ever afford to. As brick & mortar stores close, we’re providing a valuable “showroom” for titles to be discovered.
  • The next step is to make this bigger.Publishers are investing the tools to create valuable online social engagement experiences, but they have to build the audience.We have the audience, we just need to reshape our existing online presence to make it extremely valuable to our users. We want our online users to think of the library website as their intellectual home. Their go-to place for anything surrounding the reading experience, be it ResearchFinding a good bookDiscussing a good bookAttending author eventsTracking their reading historyBibliocommons – the power of the collecting. Crowdsourced library engagement. Outside in interface
  • To help us down this road, we’ve signed on with a new catalog discovery interface called Bibliocommons.Links with libraries across the US and Canada, “crowd-sourcing” enriched patron engagement to the benefit of our own patrons.One of things you can do is create lists for others to see.
  • To help us down this road, we’ve signed on with a new catalog discovery interface called Bibliocommons.Links with libraries across the US and Canada, “crowd-sourcing” enriched patron engagement to the benefit of our own patrons.One of things you can do is create lists for others to see.
  • In specific records I can :RateTagShareComment
  • We have a huge readership publishers can leverage.We can help them engage. We can help strategically promote their content.But we need the vendors help. We need Overdrive, 3M, and others to support us in this holistic strategy.Currently, that’s a challenge,
  • Another challenge we face as our collections from various vendors grow in size and scope, is lessening the amount of work the patron has to do to get to all the variety of resources they may want to use.When we purchase books and put them on our shelves, we don’t arrange them by publisher or who we purchased them from. We don’t expect our patrons to understand where they came from.Yet currently, our patrons have to go in via multiple access points to fully explore our popular e-content. Obviously the vendors host the data and the transactions, but our patrons do not necessarily understand the reasons behind this. When collections were small and we had only a few vendors, this was not so much of an issue. But now that e-reading is growing, we need these vendors to work with our ILS vendors for a discovery tool and a circulation system that brings them seamlessly together, making the patron work less to explore, discover, and check out the material. In an attempt to make the search and discovery process seamless alongside our print materials, we acquire MARC records from our e-content vendors and load them into our online catalog (catalog.nypl.org). But the vast majority of patrons do not go through the Catalog to get to e-books. Vendor data from the last 12 months show the online catalog refers only 13% of patrons to our ebooks.nypl.org page, a distant third (93,841) behind Google’s 30% (219,679) and our main website’s www.nypl.org 47% (349,038). Our children’s website kids.nypl.org refers 6% (47,528) and the vendor’s site itself search.overdrive.com 3% (23,459). The average patron spends 7:42 minutes surveying an average of 17 pages.
  • In the late Spring of this year, as we were in negotiations with vendors, we realized they have their own corporate strategies that do not always Support our Library strategy.They very much want to compete for each other’s business as a whole. To invade and take over. When an e-book vendor has the user circulation function, holds system, etc, it ties the library, and its users, to that vendor. That is unfair.It also has traditionally tied the user to that vendor’s platform, that vendor’s space. Which is not controlled by the library.It may have our logo, and a link back to our catalog, but that is insufficient.We want to be able to cross walk that reader to all of our materials, services, and programs, not have them stuck over in the vendor’s platform away from the rest of what we are strategically investing in.In talks with peer libraries, we knew we were not alone. So we got together with a number of peers and drafted 4 principles:
  • We called those principles the ReadersFirst Initiative.We started with a phone call and expected about 20 libraries to participate, that first phone call had over 60 libraries join!Then we created a website and invited other libraries to join.
  • It is still open and any library from any where in the world can show they support these principles by adding their library.
  • As of today we have 191 library systems worldwide. We have formed a small leadership group to further promote understanding of why these principles are important to how libraries successfully engage with users and readers.We do not see this as a challenge to the vendors, but rather as a collective voice to help them direct where their investment money is spent. We want vendors to be successful and to tell us “we support ReadersFirst and here is how”.
  • Back to the value for a minute….What I’m showing you is anonymized, aggragated data about how trade e-books from specific publishers between a specific price point are faring in our catalog.Publishers pay a lot to access the retail version of this.For the bigger trade publishers, who live & die by author performance, wouldn’t it be great to show themhow libraries can help build readership, awareness, and play an important role in “handselling” their backlist?The performance on some of these here is to be expected, but the performance of these debut novelists is stellar. I wonder if they’re performing better in libraries than in retail? What about an author who’s falling off in sales but still has steady library following? As the publisher wouldn’t you want to know that? We don’t have a channel for sharing this type of information yet. But we need to be thinking about creating one.
  • NYPL Brief ebooks presentation 10 5 12

    1. 1. E-Book Services and Experiences Christopher Platt Director, Collections and Circulation Operations christopherplatt@nypl.org
    2. 2. The Reading Eco-System Supply ChainAuthor (Creator) Agent (Negotiator) Publisher (Editor, Marketer, Promoter, Producer) Wholesaler (Disseminator) (Recommendor) Retailer (Seller) Happy Reader
    3. 3. Publisher, Reader. Reader, Publisher. Publisher This is a new, uncharted Reader/$$ relationship Needs Promotion previously met via Discovery environment narrowing Social engagement retail channel: Data
    4. 4. Publisher, Reader. Reader, Publisher.
    5. 5. How can we strengthen our role in a changing supply chain?Author (Creator) Agent (Negotiator) Publisher (Editor, Marketer, Promoter, Producer) Wholesaler (print-based industries) Retailer Reader
    6. 6. What do Libraries Offer? Engaged Relationship Reader Curated Promotion Looks a lot Discovery environment like what publishers Social engagementneed, right? Data
    7. 7. Here’s What One Library Offers Calendar Year 2011
    8. 8. Popular e-content we offer today: www.nypl.org/ebooks
    9. 9. July 2011-June 2012 usage:200,000180,000160,000 Tumblebooks140,000 Bookflix120,000 Overdrive100,000 Freegal 80,000 Total 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 Jul-11 Aug-11 Sep-11 Oct-11 Nov-11 Dec-11 Jan-12 Feb-12 Mar-12 Apr-12 May-12 Jun-12
    10. 10. Overdrive platform:
    11. 11. A fussy discovery tool
    12. 12. Can you spot the controversy? Beyond library collectionAdverts Amazon friendly Retail
    13. 13. Yesterday’s controversy is today’s normal: Ratings Social networking
    14. 14. Retail Affiliates
    15. 15. Starting to add value to the supply chainAuthor (Creator) Agent (Negotiator) Publisher (Editor, Marketer, Promoter, Producer) Wholesaler (Disseminator) (Recommendor) Retailer (Seller) Happy Reader
    16. 16. Cementing our place in the eco-system:
    17. 17. Nypl.bibliocommons.com
    18. 18. Nypl.bibliocommons.com Patron to patron engagement Behavior checks Curatorial expertise exposed
    19. 19. User Contributions Welcome
    20. 20. User Contributions Welcome “didn’t love, love, love it.”“Love, love, love this book!”
    21. 21. We need greater control over our user experience In physical world, we bring together many In the e-content world, there is as yet no items into a single access point, and enrich it single point of access, no programming with programming, promotion, and exposing across platforms, or ability to easily promote people to multiple services. other services. The library’s strategy should always be more important the vendor’s.Images: The New York Public Library
    22. 22. General Principles for E-Content•Search and browse a single comprehensive catalog with all of a library’s offerings atonce, including all e-books, physical collections, programs, blogs, and donoropportunities. Currently, content providers often only allow searches within theproducts they sell, depriving users of the comprehensive library experience.•Place holds, check-out items, view availability, manage fines and receivecommunications within individual library catalogs or in the venue the library believeswill serve them best, without having to visit separate websites (libraries, notdistributers, should be enabled to manage all interactions with users).•Seamlessly enjoy a variety of e-content. To do this, libraries must be able to choosecontent, devices and apps from any provider or from multiple providers, withoutbundling that limits a library’s ability to serve content they purchase on platforms oftheir choice.•Download e-books that are compatible with all readers, from the Kindle to the Nookto the iPad and so on.
    23. 23. ReadersFirst Initiative:Principles
    24. 24. Libraries are welcome to signal they support the ReadersFirst Principles
    25. 25. 191 Libraries representing 168,000,000 readers as of October 5th, 2012:
    26. 26. Final point: we need to share our data
    27. 27. Christopher PlattDirector, Collections and Circulation Operations christopherplatt@nypl.org