Libraries, publishers take new approach to ebook buying in Atlantic collection deal

ebook collection launch

From left to right: Jim Lorimer, chair, Digital Marketing Committee Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association and owner of Formac Publishing Company Ltd.; Jennifer Evans, provincial librarian, Nova Scotia Regional Libraries; Åsa Kachan, chief librarian and chief executive officer for the Halifax Public Libraries, Chris Benjamin, author of Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School, published by Nimbus Publishing; Tony Ince, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage; Heather Bryan, president, Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association and co-owner of Nimbus Publishing Ltd.; John Boileau, author of Old Enough to Fight, published by Lorimer Publishing; Terrilee Bulger, treasurer Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association and co-owner of Nimbus Publishing Ltd. Photo credit: Carolyn Guy

(For Immediate release: Halifax, NS) Nova Scotia’s public libraries and the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association broke new ground in ebook collection development in a project announced Wednesday in Halifax.

Nova Scotia Regional Libraries and Halifax Public Library have together purchased a selection of over 600 copies of Atlantic-published ebooks. The books are available starting today in a “Read Local” collection for library users. Outside of Quebec, this is the first provincewide agreement of its kind between libraries and locally based publishers.

“This innovative project puts hundreds of Atlantic Canadian authored and published ebooks onto Nova Scotia library users’ devices,” said Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage Tony Ince. “Read Local makes it easier for Nova Scotians to borrow more Atlantic Canadian books from anywhere they can access the Internet.”

The books purchased include literary fiction, biography, local interest titles, history, teen fiction and children’s books.

The libraries purchased the books directly from 13 different publishers, which are all members of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association. Under this initial Nova Scotia purchase 100 per cent of the $40,000 purchase goes directly to publishers and writers.

The Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association set higher ebook prices for libraries than for consumers because when a consumer purchases an ebook it tends to only have one reader. A library-owned ebook often has 50 readers. Library prices on the ebooks in this collection range from $50 to $95. This works out to a cost of $1 to $2 per copy read.

Higher library prices for ebooks generates significant benefits for local authors. The deal made between Atlantic publishers and Nova Scotia libraries will give authors a much larger royalty than usual for every copy purchased.

“Publishing is an important cultural industry in Nova Scotia. Our most recent economic figures show that written and published works contribute more than $179 million annually to our economy, and employ nearly 3,400 people,” said Minister Ince.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the project is that library users will find it easy to discover the titles in the Atlantic collection. Halifax Public Library and the Nova Scotia Regional Libraries are featuring the collection on their ebook lending home page. Local books are very popular in Nova Scotia, and the “Read Local” collection makes them easy to spot. Normally, local and Canadian ebooks are scattered throughout collections of mostly American ebook titles and are difficult to discover.

“The ‘Read Local’ collection offers Nova Scotians access to a wide selection of great local books in ebook form,” said Heather Bryan, president of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association. “We expect the books to be very popular, which will be beneficial to both local publishers and authors, and that this will lead the way to more regional ebooks being available at local libraries.”

Nova Scotia Regional Libraries launched its “Read Local” collection in recent weeks, and library patrons have already borrowed about 90% of the collection. Some titles were proving so popular that the libraries have purchased duplicate copies so users won’t have to wait too long to get their requested book.

The project was initiated by the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association, whose representatives worked closely with staff from the Nova Scotia Provincial Libraries and Halifax Public Library on developing the project details. The Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage provided the funds for the initial collection purchase.

Library staff opted to use the local content approach, even though it required extra staff time to load the book files onto the OverDrive server. Publishers cooperated by providing descriptive information about the books purchased that could be copied onto the library site. This content was tailored to Nova Scotia public library users, to improve the discoverability of local books. Though the process was somewhat more time consuming than the usual purchase channel, the fact that all the spending went to local publishers and authors made this approach preferable to the publishers and librarians.

Digital media collections have steadily increased in popularity in public libraries in recent years. Many library users have expressed interest in having more Canadian digital media content available through their public libraries. According to BookNet Canada about 17 per cent of books sold in Canada in 2013 were ebooks.

The new titles, like all ebooks provided by Nova Scotia’s public libraries, are available to anyone with a free public library card and access to the Internet.

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For more information contact:

Jim Lorimer, chair, Digital Marketing Committee
Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association
902 421 7022

Terrilee Bulger, treasurer
Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association
(902)  455 4286

atlanticpublishers.ca  

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