eReolen.dk what’s up: The Danish E- and Audiobook Solution
Mikkel Christoffersen, www.eReolen.dk
In the Nordic library organizations we believe that international cooperation can create a better world. That's one of the reasons why we meet, once a year, with all the other Nordic countries, discussing how we can strengthen cooperation between libraries for the benefit of people and society. (And I don't mention Trump at all)
This year we meet in Copenhagen and have a series of presentations and discussions, which you can see more about www.biblioteksdebat.dk
eReolen – the Danish, national e-lending platform - Nordic library meeting in Copenhagen
eReolen – the Danish, national
Mikkel Christoffersen, senior adviser
Copenhagen Libraries and ”eReolen”
Copenhagen, January 18, 2018
• National project manager
• Lending and business model architect
• Leads the negotiating team
• Chairman of NAPLE’s expert group on e-
• EU TAIEX recognised e-lending expert
• So there!
What is eReolen?
• eReolen is the Danish public libraries’ joint
ebook and digital audiobook service
• It’s an association with all Danish public
libraries as members, an organisation with
lots of paid and voluntary employees, and a
web site and Android and iOS apps
• 28.000 ebooks and 7.500 digital audio books
are available and increases daily
• 2,9 mn loans in 2017 from 600+ publishers
Selection OPAC eReolen
An offer to
Basic business model
• For every loan, libraries are charged a fee to
publizon and to eReolen (€0,30/€0,30)
• eReolens fees are used to buy free time
from library employees like me and to do
projects and to finance development such
as web site, apps etc.
• Publishers, Publizon and eReolen enter into
a three-way contract complex
The association ”eReolen”
1. One-copy one-user (license): We have four
loans per license. Purchase and management is
national as are the reservation queues.
2. One-copy multiple-users (click): The bread
and butter of our platform (or used to be).
Fixed prices based on age or length of audio
book and there are local restrictions.
3. Free-for-all (suscription): We pay once for
all or part of a publisher’s catalogue. Then’s it’s
free except for the fee.
• Transaction fee for all loans: €0.30 to
eReolen, €0.30 to Publizon
• Licenses: Retail price for 4 loans. E.g. a
license is €12; each loan is €3 + fee.
• Click: ebooks have fixed priced based on
age: €1,40 - €2,00. Audiobooks have fixed
price based on length: €1,21 – €2,55
• Subscription: Based on an estimate. Scary
stuff! Lots of money involved.
Models in a book’s lifecycle
• Libraries have an administration hub to put in
local restrictions; money spent, number of
simultaneous loans etc.
• The system checks local user data and
permissions when the user logs in
2016: a new world
• In 2015 Lindhardt & Ringhof and Gyldendal
the two biggest publishers got into a fight
• In 2016 Gyldendal dropped out of eReolen
again, but L&R stayed on and in 2017 they
converted all their titles into free-for-all
based on a three-year-contract
• This changed the dynamic on and off
Audiobooks is the new black
• Audiobooks have risen over the years
without much PR from us
• They draw in new user groups like young
• Believed to be a ”medium of the time” and
related to podcasts
• The real beneficiary of digitisation
• But is it reading? Cognitively? Legally?
2017: interesting numbers
1,1 mn. loans
1.8 mn. Loans
2.9 mn loans
In 2014 publishers wouldn’t let us have their ebooks but begged
us to create activity for the audiobooks that only libraries
wanted and were able to move. Now it’s completely reversed!
Other interesting numbers
on ebooks in 2017:
Average per title:
Publisher revenue on
audiobooks in 2017:
Average per title:
2011: eReolen is opened with 4.500 ebooks.
All are 1CMU. Audiobooks is its own service.
2012: Big publishers wihdraw from eReolen
(but not for audiobooks) citing too much
activity for the bestsellers and declining sales.
4.500 –> 1.500 ebooks.
2013: Big publishers open their own service
(EBIB) based on 1C1U. Central libraries buy
into it, but user reactions are bad.
2014: eReolen is surprisingly thriving with
small publishers, but not flourishing. EBIB
shuts down and reunification talks starts
2015: All publishers return and the
Compromise Model is born: 6 months of 1C1U
the 1CMU + permanent 1C1U for some.
Audiobooks merge with ebooks in one service.
2016: The big publishers pull out again even
with their audiobooks citing too much activity
and hurting new streaming services
• eReolen makes people
think literature is free
• eReolen exhausts
people’s reading needs
so there’s no buy in them
• eReolen should not focus
on new, popular
literature, because then
it won’t sell
• eReolen should not have
• eReolen should not focus on
older, less popular
literature, because then the
new titles won’t sell
• It needs to be difficult and
user-unfriendly to get to
literature and use eReolen
• Ebooks is a new, fragile
market and needs
• eReolen looks like a
• In order to fulfil our mission we need a
user-friendly, easy-to-use e-lending service
with a good supply and few restrictions
• We cannot and will not base an e-lending
service for esp. children on restrictions
• We acknowledge that publishers must be
able to “work their channels” and their
commercial interests in a general sense
• We believe the great cycle of writing,
publishing and reading is an ecology
• Our minister for culture has put pressure on
the two sides since December 2016, and in late
2017 she increased that pressure threatening
• Libraries believes ECJ ruling on e-lending is a
win, but it may be an expensive one
• Libraries may lend ebooks; a book is a book
• … if it has been acquired lawfully
• … if the author is renumerated
• Nothing about audiobooks, prices or terms
• Actually a compromise-compromise
• After long, difficult negotiations we landed a
deal with Gyldendal and Modtryk and the
other three have contacted us
• We now work from a 50-50 model viz.
restricted vs. not restricted and no
restrictions for children
• Streaming services hate us, publishers have
turned neutral, authors are silent
• 600 publishers rely on us almost solely
• eReolen should not be the market leader in
• eReolen is uniquely suited for and very good
at promoting the back catalogue and
• Different models for different publishers;
restriction for commerially interesting titles
and no restriction where commercial
interest is gone or awareness is key
• ”Libraries are great at promoting literature
and generate reading, but you’re cheap!”
• 935 users answer a
• Focus groups with
<30 yo. and >30 yo.
users resectively as
well as non-users in
• Focus on use and
evaluating the service
and the promotion,
use of social media
and communication in
• There’s a market failure viz. Digitisation of
the back catalogue and no public money
• eReolen and library intelligence can help
• We have two models: Collaboration with
publishers for newer works. Help with data
and copies for the older works.
• No collective agreements!?