July 28, 2014

Q&A: Scott Wasinger, EBSCO Publishing’s VP of Sales, Ebooks and Audiobooks

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On Wednesday, October 17, Library Journal and School Library Journal will host “The Digital Shift: Libraries, Ebooks and Beyond,” our 3rd annual ebook summit. This online, all-day program will explore how libraries are navigating the transition from print to digital and integrating “e” into collections, catalogs and classrooms.

EBSCO, the leading database and ebook provider for libraries and other institutions, is a platinum sponsor of the event, and LJ asked Scott Wasinger, VP of Sales, Ebooks and Audiobooks, to discuss the company’s new Collection Manager tool, new options for patron driven acquisition, and plans to expand the company’s fiction and audiobook offerings in 2013. 

LJ: What kind of reception has your new Collection Manager tool received and what functions are proving most popular?

Wasinger: EBSCOhost Collection Manager (ECM) reception and usage has far exceeded our expectations.  It is a free online resource for libraries to search, browse, select and order ebooks and to create and manage PDA lists.

Some of the popular ECM features include:

It is also important to note that ECM is one option.  In addition to ECM, we provide other options to make it as easy as possible for libraries to discover and acquire ebooks.  For libraries that already use YBP’s GOBI or B&T’s TitleSource3 in their workflow, they can use those services to order EBSCO ebooks.  Likewise, we plan to make additional options available in the months ahead for libraries using other selections services.

ECM login credentials can be requested here.

Can you talk a little bit about your business model options, in particular the patron-driven short-term lease and patron-driven upgrade options that you are rolling out?

Subscription:  Libraries have the option to subscribe annually to large predefined collections of unlimited user titles, e.g. Academic, CC, Business, IT, K-8, High School.  The subscription option can serve as a nice foundation that can be easily complemented with other models.

Standard Purchase:  Purchase for ownership with ongoing access in perpetuity.  Libraries can choose titles individually, select from popular recommended collections.  Our purchase options include 1, 3, and unlimited concurrent user levels. EBSCO purchase model pricing is simply the one-time publisher suggested list price with no markup and no fees of any type.

Patron Driven Purchase:  Libraries also have the option to purchase titles through a PDA (Patron Driven Acquisition) program, sometimes referred to as demand driven acquisition, to ensure what is acquired is being used.

Patron Driven Short-term Loan:  Where ongoing demand is uncertain for a given list of titles, rather than purchase, libraries can opt to start by licensing titles for 1,7,14, or 28 days.  Libraries identify the titles they would like to make available for Patron Driven Short-term Loan, and when triggered a title is automatically licensed.  Libraries can place a limit on the number of times a title can be loaned and designate titles for auto-purchase after a library defined number of STL’s occurs.

Patron Driven Auto Upgrade:  We are working on a patron driven auto-upgrade option where libraries define the number of turnaways that can occur before a title is automatically upgraded to the next level, e.g. before a turnaway can occur, auto-upgrade from 1U to UU.

How are your efforts to diversify beyond scholarly and STM publishing content going?

We are continuing to build on our strength in academic content, while at the same time aggressively adding new content in other areas.

We have new and expanded agreements with hundreds of publishers across academic, corporate, medical, public, and school markets.  In addition to our content growth by market, we are growing non-US and non-English content, along with other high demand areas, e.g. theology.  We are planning for an influx of popular fiction titles with our introduction of ePub format in 2013.  We also continue to expand our already strong audiobook offering.

What are your most popular product features for end users?  And a related question, have you built out your ability to process the EPUB format?

One of the most valuable features for end users as well as for librarians is the full integration of ebooks into EBSCOhost.  It allows users to seamlessly search and access eBook and EBSCOhost database content on the same platform.  Users benefit from the overall strength of EBSCOhost and the fact that they already know the platform, no need for them to learn, or for libraries to support, a separate ebook platform.

We have made substantial progress with ePub.  We are ingesting ePub format now, and we are building out support for ePub output and ONIX in order to begin introducing ePub format for select titles in 2013.  The significance of ePub for libraries and end users is: increased availability of content, as some publishers deal only in ePub format (e.g. some large popular fiction publishers); more optimal offline user experience (e.g. better handling of complex formatting, reflowing text at title level, rather than at page level which is the case for PDF); provide the technological foundation for future feature enhancement options.

 

With a full day of programming, including tracks designed specifically for public, academic and school libraries, professionals from administrative to administrators will find a wealth of new information, innovative ideas and best practices to put to use in their own libraries at The Digital Shift: Libraries, Ebooks and Beyond. Register at www.thedigitalshift.com/events/ebooks-and-beyond/

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