March 29, 2023

Ebook Marketplace Q&A: George Coe, Baker & Taylor

As part of our preparation for the Ebook SummitThe Digital Shift is presenting a series of interviews with leaders from major ebook vendors in the library space. This week we talk with George Coe, President of Baker & Taylor’s Library and Education Division, about ebooks, Blio and B&T’s new Axis 360 ebook content platform.


1. How long do you think it will take for libraries’ e-book collections to outpace print book collections?  (If ever…)

The explosion of devices and the shift to mobile access have propelled the adoption of ebooks in public, academic and K-12 libraries. Public libraries closely track the accelerated rates of adoption in the consumer world, and soon purchases of fiction and narrative nonfiction will be primarily digital. In academic libraries, expenditures are already nearing 50/50. And school libraries, although joining the transition later, have dived in completely with school buildings and whole districts adopting digital-only approaches for both textbook and library materials.

2. What role do you foresee for libraries in the digital book world?

The materials may evolve, and the design and use of physical space in the buildings may shift, but the central role of libraries doesn’t change. Libraries democratize access to information and entertainment, and provide the spaces for both individual pursuit and community engagement.

3. What do you predict will be the next big disruption/innovation to impact the ebook landscape? (Give it your best shot…)

Publishers that have sat out, so far, will finally make their digital editions available to libraries. And, the number of new books each year will take a quantum leap as individual authors become their own digital publishers. The next innovation for libraries will be mainstreaming digital materials selection, acquisition and circulation, establishing one integrated workflow for the ongoing physical and the expanding digital collections.

4. How does your company’s digital strategy reflect this?

Baker & Taylor’s role is central to the accelerating shift to digital. We continue to innovate and expand the universe of publication data and the collection development programs and services that our libraries rely on us to provide. And, with our new Axis 360 econtent circulation platform and full integration with Blio – with the enhanced ereading experience it provides – libraries can now take advantage of a single data resource and integrated workflow for print and digital.

Ebooks: The New Normal is a one-day virtual conference on ebooks and their role in the future of libraries, presented by Library Journal and School Library Journal. For more information:

Barbara Genco About Barbara Genco

After a long career in collection management at Brooklyn Public Library, and a decade as their Director of Collection Development, Barbara Genco joined Library Journal in fall 2009 as Editor, Collection Management. Follow her on Twitter @BarbaraAGenco.