Thursday, June 12, 2014

Douglas County Libraries

Any blog on libraries owning ebooks and negotiating directly with publishers would be remiss if they didn't mention Douglas County during the first few posts.

I was inspired to do a platform of our own at Califa, after a meeting at ALA Midwinter in 2012 with Jamie LaRue and, oddly enough, Tim Coates, who was gathering feedback and information for his bilbary venture (which is now, I believe, called something like Frekle.)

The team at Douglas County were amazing in helping us get started.  I basically knew how to say the words "Adobe content server." and that was about it.  But Monique sent us some great technical information, and Rochelle was unbelievably helpful in pointing us towards publishers that we could start with.  In fact, when I went to BEA for the first time in 2012, pretty much overwhelmed at the number of publishers I could talk with, I had a list of Douglas County publishers to start with.

In fact, if you're considering doing your own ebook platform, you need to bookmark their evoke site, which lists publisher contacts, technologies, agreements, etc.

Simply put, Douglas County created their own platform, and started buying content from publishers, and went live in 2012. Their collection doesn't replace working with other vendors (they still buy from hoopla, OverDrive, zinio, freegal, and others) but they did start the trend in showing that libraries could do this themselves.  There are a lot of smart people in this space; if we use our collective brainpower, we can do great things.

They are now working on evoke2.0, to take their model throughout the entire state of Colorado, and information on that project can be found here:  This project is a little different than Califa in that they are using OdiloTID, a Spanish eBook platform that they used for some of the work on their original site.  We actually looked into Odilo, and found the cost to be prohibitive, but they have made some changes to the pricing, and might be a bit more reasonable now.  We also had a philosophical issue with the idea of using another vendor for something we wanted to create ourselves, but for a lot of libraries this might actually be a good option (same with Biblioboard, which seems really creative, and supportive of libraries).

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to go into detail of their project.  Besides, most people who are reading this blog right now are already familiar with them. I am going to see if Rochelle would like to do a guest entry on things they've learned (especially around pricing and discounts), but for now, if you're interested in their project, go to that evoke site, and contact them!

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