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Day 6 - Spreading the word about ebooks

LibraryEbooksAs books shift from paper to bits and bytes, libraries still have a place providing access to these electronic titles. I was pleased to see in the CNET article from Day 1 of "The 12 Days of OverDrive" that libraries were given more than a passing mention as a source for content. ("6. Can I check out e-books from my local library?") Woohoo! When ereaders are unwrapped, I want people to think of their public library!

Ereaders and tablets should be BIG this holiday season and libraries are gearing up to play a big part. How much are ebooks and ereaders taking off? This article with ebook infographic tells us ereadership doubled between Nov 2010 and May 2011 and it's going to continue to increase.

How are SCLS libraries promoting ereaders and OverDrive?

Many libraries have a graphic and link to OverDrive prominently displayed on their website. Some have highlighted OverDrive and its offerings on their website or blog, including information about the still relatively new Kindle compatibility. Some offer tips and resources for OverDrive users (Oregon Public Library and Madison Public Library have particularly nice write-ups!).

And some libraries have been scheduling programs to help their patrons get comfortable with OverDrive and ereaders.  Stoughton Public Library has an "E-Reader Support Group" scheduled in December and Deerfield Public Library will be offering OverDrive classes. Fitchburg Public Library and Sauk City Public Library had "Technology Petting Zoos" in December (Lester Public Library of Rome had one back in October). Baraboo Public Library has an "Ebook and Ereader Informational Session" scheduled, Reedsburg Public Library is having a series of "eBooks for you" programs (the first one had 20 attendees!) and McMillan Memorial Library will host an "E-Books for Beginners" program (check out the accompanying info page!). Rock Springs Public Library's website advertises a Nook that can be used in the library and Monroe Public Library has Kindles for loan.

Looking for some info sheets to help you plan patron programming?

What ideas does your library have for promoting OverDrive and ebooks through the library?

Need OverDrive training for your library's staff? Contact Jean.

Day 5: Dive into the Collection

Getting ready to dive in... to downloadable media!What could you tell a new patron who is getting ready to "dive in" to the contents of the Digital Download Center collection?

What's included:

  • The collection currently contains about equal numbers of purchased audiobooks and ebook titles.
  • The number of ebook titles is bigger if you include the Project Gutenberg titles, which are always available.
  • The number of titles and copies available will grow when WPLC begins spending Buying Pool funds.

Top 10 Subjects by Checkout: Fiction, Nonfiction, Romance, Suspense, Mystery, Literature, Thriller, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, Biography & Autobiography. Requests for cookbooks, travel, computer, business, and history books are up.

Finding newly-added titles: The Digital Download Center website has the most up-to-date listing of titles in the collection. New titles are added in small batches in order to keep the new books displays fresh (this is because OverDrive websites automatically show the 100 newest books purchased in a new books display). Records for the new titles are also added to LINKcat in batches.

Requesting new titles: When possible, nearly every patron request is added. Suggestions can be made via the WPLC Support form. Some of the largest publishers refuse to license any digital books to libraries (such as Macmillan and Simon & Schuster), and other publishers may refuse to license select titles (like the Harry Potter series) to libraries. WPLC selectors also actively seek out best sellers and books in the ­eBook and audio formats that have long waiting lists for the print version.

Hold lists: The average waiting period for a hold is 19.06 days. Even if you hate to wait, be sure to look at the number of copies owned in addition to the number of people on the waiting list. A low holds-to-copies ratio means less waiting.

Digital Download Center Purchased Titles
Format Number of Titles Number of Copies
Audiobook: 6,774 10,901
eBook: 6,689 14,672
Music: 178 178
Video: 318 320
Total: 13,959 26,071

Project Gutenberg eBooks: Of the 15,000 Titles (unlimited copies), over 5,000 of them have been downloaded at least once since they were added to the collection in September 2010.

Statistics as of 12/6/11. Additional information compiled from: WPLC eBooks in Library Journal Article

Day 4 - All things WPLC and OverDrive

So where can you go if you want even more OverDrive info than we provide on TechBits?

OverDrive is a project of the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium.  You can follow the WPLC blog (just visit the site or subscribe to an RSS feed ----feeds are down in the lower right of the page) and/or subscribe to the WPLC email list for OverDrive and WPLC OverDrive inforelated news. Topics covered by the email list include:

  • patron support notices and tips
  • ideas and tools for promoting the collection
  • collection content details
  • news/announcements from OverDrive
  • news/announcements from WPLC

See the WPLC website/blog for archived email list messages, links to reports, and other useful information.

OverDrive has some great resources, including their Digital Library Blog, the OverDrive Learning Center, and their newsletters. The Digital Library Blog includes posts on a variety of topics ranging from collection development and features of the digital download center website to new products and features from OverDrive.

OverDrive's Learning Center offers online training courses, available any time. You can also sign up for live training courses when they're available. 

The Online Learning Center Resources page offers promotional and educational resources which include:

  • patron training templates
  • ebook how-to guides
  • an eBook Cheat Sheet
  • how-to instructions and slideshow templates for promoting OverDrive via an electronic display board in the library (Cool! Does your library have an electronic display board you'd like to use to promote OverDrive?)

The OverDrive newsletters are delivered by email and include the Digital Dispatch newsletter which is another source for OverDrive news such as software changes and new services (things that sometimes but not always get covered by the Digital Library Blog).

Or perhaps you'd just like to follow OverDrive on social media: they're on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!

Something I noticed on the WPLC blog today (and must have missed the first time around) was this post about an article in Library Journal, "Secrets of Ebook Success."  Sara Gold of WPLC is quoted twice, describing WPLC's selection practices and the million dollar buying pool goal for 2012. WPLC staff note the article is "an interesting comparison of trends and practices among OverDrive customers" and pull out some interesting highlights in their blog post.

Enterprise Wireless - Do you need to be billed before the end of the year?

Can you believe that 2012 is just around the corner? I realize that this time of year can be frantic! It is also a little challenging given the current state of your budgets.

There is still time to sign up for Enterprise Wireless and be billed in 2010. However time is quickly running out. If you are interested in this or have questions, please call Dan this week. There are a few libraries still on the list to get Enterprise Wireless this year, and you will receive calls from Dan in the next couple days. If you are unsure of your status, please call.

Enterprise Wireless continues to be a big success. 24 SCLS libraries have it installed. The thing I hear the most is that it just works. For more information about Enterprise Wireless look here: http://www.scls.info/technology

Day 3 - My Help!

MyHelp1stScreenSanta has helpers, and OverDrive has a helper in the form of My Help! beta. My Help! beta's first question to users is, "What do you want to do?"

Rose called my attention to this the other day when we were first talking about this crazy "12 Days of OverDrive" idea. (did I mention that it's going to be non-consecutive days?  We'd need elves helping us write to make 12 days in a row!)  I don't do OverDrive support every day, and somehow I missed this feature when it rolled out.

What is My Help?

MyHelpMy Help! beta can be found on the Digital Download Center on the left side of the page, and it provides information about getting started and assistance for a user's specific computer or device. More information about the My Help! feature can be found in this Digital Library Blog post.

Have you tried it? Have you pointed it out to your patrons? What do you think of it?

Changes are in the works for the OverDrive site as part of the "OverDrive WIN" initiative (adding Kindle compatibility was just the first part of the initiative). You can read more about OverDrive's plans in the WPLC blog's "Kindle for OverDrive" post in the section titled "OverDrive WIN Enhancements Coming Later This Year."