On April 12, Library Ideas will launch Freading 2.0, an upgrade of its existing pay-per-circ ebook platform. This will include several new features, such as MARC records supplied by OCLC for all of the 30,000 titles now offered by the service, along with an updated website with enhanced search functions, and new navigation tools that will help users find books grouped by category. This summer, Freading will also begin offering foreign language ebooks, beginning with 2,000 titles in Spanish.
Now in their third year, the LJ/SLJ Ebook Usage reports track long-term trends in public, academic, and K-12 school libraries, presenting detailed information about how libraries are adapting to this technology. Sponsored by Freading, Ebooks on EBSCOhost, and Follett, this year’s reports are freely available for download.
Ebrary’s flagship ebook product is Academic Complete, but the ProQuest unit has also offered for two years a parallel product in the public library channel called Public Library Complete that some libraries are finding a congenial fit as they sort through the growing number of offerings on the market.
When EBSCO acquired NetLibrary from OCLC in March 2010, it obtained a fully formed ebook platform that already had a large collection of about 200,000 ebooks from 500 publishers available in 17,000 sites worldwide. The challenge was to smooth out this platform, now known as Ebooks on EBSCOhost, so that it could migrate to the EBSCO interface and there be remade.
COSLA believes that ebooks will be the preferred format for reading materials in the future. As a result, it has set a goal for all U.S. public libraries to offer ebooks and downloadable media by 2015. As a step in that direction, LJ is publishing a series of articles that closely examines the various ebook platforms available, including this environmental scan.