As the City of Roseburg begins the annual budgeting process, it is time for Roseburg Public Library to decide how to proceed with e-book and e-audiobook services.
The library currently offers two options for users of tablets, smartphones, computers and e-readers. We started operations with cloudLibrary through a loosely based consortium that includes Salem, Clackamas County, Corvallis-Benton County and Albany Public Libraries.
In July, we added OverDrive through the Oregon Digital Library Consortium, the service most readers recognize.
The platforms provide similar content, although OverDrive has a larger collection that includes more older titles, and patrons can place holds on all materials not currently available for checkout. By contrast, cloudLibrary’s recently published titles are available much sooner than through OverDrive. With cloudLibrary, patrons are unable to place holds on most titles; rather, it’s primarily a what-you-see-is-what-you-get service. The exception is for the 125 books and audiobooks Roseburg Public Library has purchased for the collection.
The most important difference between the platforms is OverDrive is the only option for users of black and white Kindle models. I can tell that about half of our OverDrive users have Kindles; however, I’m unable to distinguish between those who have black and white models and those who have the Fire tablet. The Amazon Fire, as well as most other tablets and smartphones, are compatible with cloudLibrary.
Statistics through six months indicate OverDrive is more popular with Roseburg Public Library users by a 60-40 margin. More telling is that OverDrive significantly outpaced cloudLibrary the final two months of 2019.
E-materials make up 10.5% of our total circulation, and we will expend about 20% of our budget purchasing e-book and e-audiobook. Note that e-materials are incredibly expensive for public libraries; a license for a single bestselling e-audiobook may cost $95. Not only is that item available to only one patron at a time, that license may expire in two years or 52 checkouts. Compare that with the audiobook on CD, which may cost $30; CD also is a fragile format and may not last through one use.
With all of that said, I need to decide our e-book future in the next six weeks, and I’d like to hear from you. What I ask is for those who have the correct devices to download both apps and use them for a month. Take this opportunity to branch out and try something new. Then, and most important, let me know which platform you prefer and why. If you want both services to remain, here is your opportunity to present a case.
Library staff is available to assist patrons with their devices. Don’t hesitate to stop in during Tech Time from 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 for one-on-one assistance, or drop in at your convenience. Don’t forget your Amazon password or Apple ID. Tutorials typically last about 30 minutes.
See you at the library!