Monday, June 23, 2014

NC Live's Home Grown eBook Project

The fabulous previously-mentioned Tim Rogers from NC Live was quoted in this Publisher's Weekly article about what's next for eBooks in Libraries, and so that made me want to write something about his project.

I first started talking with Tim regularly when we were both implementing MyiLibrary eaudio collections back around 2008.  This collection was then somehow sold off to Recorded Books in 2011, and we both had to deal with getting a new platform up and running for our libraries.  When we decided to do an eBook project of our own, Tim was right there, saying NC Live was also interested.  We initially thought our projects would be very similar, but they have diverged a bit.  This is a good thing.  There needs to be a lot of experimentation going on in this world right now.  One size does not fit all at the moment, especially when it comes to consortia or statewide access.

So NC Live has started what they call the Home Grown eBook Project, which focuses on North Carolina publishers and content.  If the PW article is correct, they're using BiblioBoard to do it (I have all kinds of opinions on everything from OverDrive to the Open Library project from the Internet Archive, but one area where I'm still really uncertain is BiblioBoard.  On one hand, I love what they're doing, and they're a fantastic group of people, and definitely a real game changer.  On the other, it's still a vendor...)

Anyway, you can check out the Sneak Peak collection at

And I'm pasting below a letter from Tim Rogers posted on their blog that explains what they're doing.

I hope I can get him to write an update for us here, but in the meantime, this was posted in February 2014.


Dear Colleagues:

 As you may know, NC LIVE has been working to put together an eBook project for some time, and we believe we've hit on something that will be of value to all NC LIVE libraries. The working title of this project is “Home Grown eBooks,” and it focuses on bringing both quality fiction and nonfiction content from North Carolina publishers (many of which are award winners!) together into one collection hosted by NC LIVE.

The main purpose of the project is to make local content (defined as “books published by a North Carolina publisher”) more accessible to all NC LIVE libraries at low prices. With this as our guide, the following bullet points highlight some specifics about the project.

- The program will begin as a pilot project starting this spring and will run through the end of the calendar year (December 2014).
- During the pilot, NC LIVE will purchase about 1,000 titles from 10-15 publishers including Crossroads Press, Press53, UNC Press, McFarland, and Algonquin (see the full list below).
- Because we know that no one likes limits, every title will be available to the patrons of every NC LIVE library (something we’re calling Always Available Rights) throughout the pilot. To clarify, Always Available Rights mean that there will be no turn-aways, no holds lists, and no limits for your patrons – every title will ALWAYS BE AVAILABLE during the pilot.
- To access the books, patrons will not need to create a user account, a virtual library card, or anything else. They will log in to the eBook platform just as they would for any other NC LIVE provided resources – using their library card, campus ID, or the NC LIVE password. And if they happen to be in the library or on campus, they don’t even have to log in! Once they download the book, they will simply use Adobe Digital Editions on a computer or the Bluefire App on a mobile device to access the eBook.
- Although the discovery platform/interface will be new, it will also be very simple … keyword searching and alphabetical title browse navigation. Additional search and browse options (such as facets and other filters) may also be available by July. Basic MARC records will be available to any library that wishes to add them to their local catalog, and all eBooks will be findable through NC LIVE’s discovery tools and search boxes.
- One aspect of the pilot is to come up with a sustainable pricing model for the Always Available Rights (unlimited simultaneous use), while another is to ensure we have perpetual ownership of eBook titles. NC LIVE will be working with publishers to develop an acceptable cost structure that accommodates both goals, and I can tell you that our initial discussions have been very positive – They are as excited about it as we are!
- In preparation for the pilot project, NC LIVE is launching our Sneak Preview Collection of 160 eBooks purchased from John F. Blair Publisher last year. This small collection includes fiction (novels and short fiction), as well as history, travel, and other general interest nonfiction titles. The no-frills interface, which currently allows downloading only (no in-browser reading), is temporary, and will include enhancements before the pilot project launches in July. The titles will also be included when you use the NC LIVE search boxes. We are making the MARC records available for libraries that wish to add them to their local catalogs, and to pull them down, simply select the records listed as “Sneak Preview Collection on The Sneak Preview Collection will be available to all libraries through June 2014, at which time they will be folded into the Home Grown collection.
- All titles in the Sneak Preview Collection can be downloaded to a PC/MAC using Adobe Digital Editions or to an IOS or Android mobile device using the Bluefire App. eBooks can be “checked-out“ for 14 days, and there are no limits to the number of titles a patron can check-out at one time, nor are there limits on the number of re-check-outs (i.e., renewals) of a specific title.
- If the pilot is successful, our intention is to continue the Home Grown eBook program with new titles on a quarterly basis. We’ll be working out the cost model, but my hope is to keep it at the $250 level.

 Alabaster Book Publishing (Kernersville, NC)
Algonquin (Chapel Hill, NC) Baen Books (Wake Forest, NC)
Black Mountain Press (Asheville, NC)
Comfort Publishing (Concord, NC)
Crossroad Press (Elizabeth City, NC)
Duke University Press (Durham, NC)
Gryphon House (Lewisville, NC)
Ingalls Publishing Group (Banner Elk, NC)
John F. Blair, Publishers (Winston-Salem, NC)
Lookout Books (Wilmington, NC)
McFarland Publishing (Jefferson, NC)
Press 53 (Winston-Salem, NC)
Second Wind Publishing (Kernersville, NC)
UNC Press (Chapel Hill, NC)
Wake Forest University Press (Winston-Salem, NC)

 Another thing we’ll be testing with this pilot is the way we’re paying for it. As you know, when NC LIVE has purchased content in the past, we did so with funding we received through our normal budget process and through LSTA grants. The planning, licensing, and platform costs will all be funded this way, as will the Sneak Preview Collection.

 Here is the new part … we are planning (hoping!?) that the rest of the content will be paid for by our libraries. We are asking each NC LIVE library to pay $250, about the cost of 25 eBooks from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. For that $250, you and your patrons will receive access to 1,000 books (less than a quarter per book!) There is no commitment from you to fund anything beyond the pilot, though we hope you will find it successful and will want to! Even if you choose not to pay beyond the pilot, your library will always have access to at least a limited number of copies of the 1,000 titles.

 We will be sending out another message in the next week or two asking for you to “Pledge” your support for the Home Grown project. Your pledge will consist of filling out an online form that says your will pay $250 (or more, if you’d like!) for the Home Grown pilot. As with any collaborative project, the most important aspect is to get 100% involvement, and I hope we can count on you all.

I know there’s a lot of information here, but you probably have a lot of additional questions … Feel free to contact me at your convenience about the Home Grown Project, and until then, enjoy the Sneak Preview Collection!

 Best, Tim

No comments:

Post a Comment