Trends in E-Books

Innovations in the e-book arena go beyond vendors and devices. This ITS panel explores new strategies to improve the patron’s e-book experience. Marilyn Borgendale from the NH library consortium GMILCS explains the advantage of inte-grating 3M’s Cloud Library into their catalog. Deb Hoadley from the MA Library System provides an update on the Mass Statewide e-book initiative. Meena Jain of Massbay Community College, discusses the challenges of providing e-books and devices in a universally

Session info, slides, and links


Really wanted to be guided by the principles, and their current offering puts the patron first whenever possible (and way better than other existing options).

They chose to use 3M Cloud Library as ebook platform, because it integrated so well with their Polaris system. Using an API, ebooks can be totally integrated with the catalog and patron accounts. Patrons can check out ebooks right in the catalog, and can see their ebook hold list and return ebooks from within their account. Also, ebook purchasing process automatically downloads MARC record to the catalog, so ebooks show up immediately after title is purchased.

3M uses Adobe Digital Editions at the vendor level, so patrons don’t need to mess with it – they just need their library card number and password. [This is awesome!]

Is very app-based, and works very well with mobile devices that use apps (have to side-load to Kindle Fire). For those that don’t, they can still download via computer and transfer with a cable.

Seamless device switching! Since it’s in the cloud, everything is account-based, which means you have the same access to everything no matter what device you access it with. Checkouts show up in your account instantly on any device, as long as you’re logged into your account.

Drawbacks: no audiobooks, and Hachette and MacMillan won’t sell to 3M.


Massachusetts is starting a state-wide ebook program. We’re contracting with three vendors, Biblioboards, EBL, and Baker & Taylor, to provide content. Libraries will then have option to put records in their catalogs, link directly to vendors, or use a Koha union catalog for searching (which will link to vendor interfaces for checkout).

The three vendors offer different types of content, and different lending models. Biblioboards offers curated public domain historical content, in an extremely easy to use organized interface; EBL uses simultaneous-use short-term loan of school/reference-type resources; B&T offered traditional one-checkout-per-copy downloads of popular reading fiction and non-fiction.

The goal of this project isn’t just to provide wider ebook access to all state residents, but to also push the boundaries of the ebook experience, to draw a spotlight to what doesn’t work.

The project is starting with a pilot stage of a mix of 50 MA libraries, for six months. Content will be about 120,000 ebooks. After that the project will be opened up to the rest of the state, and content will continue to grow. Projected pilot start is early November.


Ebooks need to be accessible to everyone, and that includes ebook readers.

The Nook is not at all accessible to the blind. Amazon has recently started putting some effort into making the Kindle accessible, but the iPad is doing the best job. It offers audible confirmations after different functions (for instance, a bing after it starts up, instead of relying on sight to know the screen has come on), and will read out app names when hovering over icon with your finger.

See slides for more information [pdf].

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