There’s a new way to answer that age-old question: what do library users want?

We’ve just recently signed up for a free service that OverDrive provides called Recommend to Library. But don’t worry–it’s not an open invitation to request all the titles we can’t provide because they’re simply not available. Rather it’s a way to search the entire list of titles offered by OverDrive, including titles not currently available in our collection.

One way to see what OverDrive offers that we don’t currently own is to click on the Additional Titles radio button when you do a simple search.

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Another way to get there is to go the Advanced Search page on OverDrive. As you can see at the bottom of the image below, users can choose to search “Additional titles” here as well.

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In either case, what comes up will be a list of titles that match the search criteria. The first titles that appear will be those that we currently own, followed by those that we don’t.  If one (or more) of the latter is of interest, searchers can click the Recommend button.

For those with plenty of time on their hands and no particular authors or subjects in mind it’s also possible to browse the entire list of non-owned titles.  When users do a search of the library collection they’ll see this link at the bottom of their search results.

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One thing that might be a little confusing is that recommendations can’t be made by casual browsers.  They can only be made after signing in to OverDrive.  On the bright side, this means that users can keep track of the titles they’ve recommended in the “My Account” section of OverDrive.

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When the recommendation is made, users are prompted to check what action they’d like to have taken.  They can ask to be notified by email or to have the title put on hold for them–or both–if the library purchases the title in question.  They’ll also be required to confirm their recommendation.  For now recommendations are limited to 5 per day per person.

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So, what happens next? OverDrive creates and sends lists of recommended titles regularly for consideration by selectors.  Titles are added when they meet the selection criteria and funds permit.

Happy Searching!

Lisa D. (CLP)

Continue ReadingThere’s a new way to answer that age-old question: what do library users want?

So, why don’t we have ______ ? (Or, OverDrive eBook selection demystified.)

When it comes to eBooks, have you ever:

  • Been frustrated when trying to explain why there are missing titles in a series?
  • Experienced a brief moment of excitement to see the title you’re looking for, only to be disheartened when you realize it is only available in audio (e.g. Bossypants)?
  • Been befuddled about why we don’t have Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder or Tim Tebow’s Through My Eyes (and no, it’s not because he led the Broncos in squashing the playoff hopes of the Steelers)?

Wondering yourself why we don’t have those things, or how in the world the ACLA Downloadables Committee goes about making selections?  Well, read on, and hopefully things will become a lot clearer.

First, the ACLA Downloadables Committee currently focuses on selecting current and/or popular titles.  We purchase eBooks, eAudio, and eVideo, but we primarily select eBooks.  As a happy result of increased funding for e-materials this year, we have also been able to increase the number of copies of popular titles we purchase, as well as reduce the holds ratio on all e-content so that turn-over occurs more quickly and patrons have a higher satisfaction rate.

Sadly, there is a limit to what is available.  This, in short, is the reason we might not have:

  • All the titles in a series;
  • The eBook version of a book we have in audio;
  • Certain best-selling titles.

Let’s start with missing best-sellers (and, by extension, the reason we offer some titles as eAudio, but not eBook).  The e-publishing landscape is constantly shifting as publishers try to find a licensing/purchasing model that they feel comfortable with.  I could spend a whole blog post on the reasons for this, and maybe I’ll do that down the road, but for now I’ll just outline what we are able to get from the Big Six publishers:

  • Random House: Currently the only Big Six publisher offering libraries their complete catalog of eBooks without circulation restrictions.
  • HarperCollins: Offers their complete catalog of eBooks to libraries, but, as of March 2011, restricts each copy to 26 circulations (titles then have to be repurchased for continued access). The ACLA Downloadables Committee, along with many libraries across the country, decided to temporarily discontinue the purchase of HarperCollins eBooks when they announced the 26-circulation limit.
  • Penguin: Offered their complete eBook catalog to libraries until November 2011, then imposed an embargo on frontlist titles, with no indication of when new titles will become available.
  • Hachette:  Offers mid and backlist titles, but no frontlist.
  • Simon & Schuster: Does not sell eBooks to libraries.
  • Macmillan: Does not sell eBooks to libraries.

In terms of missing titles in a series, unfortunately, the publishers don’t necessarily have the digital rights to all of the books they have print rights to.  As a result, we are sometimes able to purchase some books in a series, but not all.

The good news?  We recently reinstated HarperCollins purchasing, so you will soon be seeing State of Wonder, Through My Eyes and other popular HarperCollins titles.  Further, publishers are constantly working on increasing their digital catalogs, so additional books in a series and books we have in audio but not eBook should become available over time.

I hope this helps to explain the rhyme and reason (or lack thereof) behind our eBook collection.  If you have questions, comments, or interest in this committee please feel free to post them below or contact me directly.

Sarah (CLP, Coordinator, eResources)

Continue ReadingSo, why don’t we have ______ ? (Or, OverDrive eBook selection demystified.)