IBPA’s The Library as a Discovery Platform webinar was a huge hit last week and brought together a diverse group of perspectives to discuss the benefits of partnering with librarians to aid in eBook discovery. It also offered solutions to the major obstacles in discoverability facing all members of the “reading ecosystem”.
Enjoy a multimedia summary of the webinar below for those who missed it or would like to revisit the subject.
Veronda Pitchford’s graphic highlights discoverability in the context of the “reading ecosystem”.
One of the most pervasive issues discussed in the webinar was that of the “wall of content”, as moderator Porter Anderson calls it. This refers to the overwhelming amount of titles available in this increasingly digital age, which has made the market more competitive than ever and poses distinct challenges to every level of the industry. Each panelist represented a unique initiative aimed at dismantling this obstacle through innovative partnerships between libraries, authors, publishers and readers.
AUDIO: Journalist Porter Anderson discusses the digital dynamic and how it impacts discoverability.
The SELF-e program provides a two-pronged solution to this issue facing authors and small presses, as well as libraries. SELF-e offers quality local indie content to libraries that comes with the credibility of the Library Journal curation process. This program also introduces authors and small presses to the expansive audience of library patrons that had previously been very difficult to access.
Victoria Noe, both a SELF-e Ambassador and author, elaborated on how this breakthrough into library systems is about more than just the books, but the authors themselves. Noe has found that beyond their written word, authors can also provide a multitude of other valuable services to libraries. Hosting readings at the library, giving talks on self-publishing and promoting library programming are all endeavors that connect and benefit libraries, readers and authors in a much larger way than just providing new digital titles.
AUDIO: Noe and Anderson explore the relationship between indie authors and libraries.
Catherine Royalty of the Los Angeles Public Library is an incredible example of how successful this kind of mutually beneficial relationship can be. LAPL supports their local author community with self-publishing tools, the SELF-e discovery platform and an array of writing programming. Through this, they are able to make the library the center for authors’ creation, distribution and promotion of their works.
AUDIO: Allie McKinney of BiblioBoard addresses unlocking the power of the library readership.
This method of uniting libraries, patrons, authors and publishers to cultivate a dedicated community of readership is evident outside of SELF-e as well with the initiatives of industry leaders Veronda Pitchford of Reading Across Illinois Library Systems (RAILS) and Lauren Klouda of the Independent Publishers Group (IPG). Their institutions are working together to increase discoverability of digital content in libraries while also driving book sales for the authors and independent presses.
Their upcoming plan places a curated selection of quality digital titles right in the hands of the patrons, while also giving patrons the option to purchase the titles directly through the BiblioBoard viewing platform in the format of their choosing. These assortments of eBooks will be selected to support the libraries’ programming.
AUDIO: Lauren Klouda of IPG details an exciting new initiative aimed at reaching library patrons.
For libraries, indie authors and indie publishers, the need for collaboration and innovation across industries to advance the discoverability of independently published eBooks is clear. Uniting the members of the reading ecosystem around the needs of readers shows that partnership holds the key to unlocking the incredible potential of small presses and indie authors in library systems around the world.