August 19, 2022

Ebook Marketplace Q&A: Cynthia Sanner & Erin Sullivan, GALE Cengage Learning

As part of our preparation for the Ebook Summit,The Digital Shift is featuring a series of interviews with leaders from major ebook vendors in the library space.

cynthia sanner

Erin SullivanThis week we chat with two leaders from GALE Cengage Learning — Cynthia Sanner (far left), Publisher, General Reference and International, Cengage Learning and Erin Sullivan (left), Product Manager II, Gale Virtual Reference Library , about libraries, ebooks and Cengage Learning’s  innovative publishing programs for Public, K-12, and Academic Libraries.


1. How long do you think it will take libraries’ eBook collection to outpace print book collections? (if ever)…

With a focus on reference collections, we see proof that eBooks are outpacing print so Cengage Learning is focusing on a publishing program that is e-first.

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

As more books go digital, librarians will occupy more of the training and coaching role. Today’s librarian will need to excel at training users on how to use databases, eReaders, tablets and mobile.

Training is especially critical at the public library where seniors are looking to connect via social networking, gain knowledge about hobbies and skills, and research financial planning and health care.

At the K-12 and academic levels, the training role is again, essential.  Today’s students can get information from a myriad of sources via the open web or library resources. It is the role of the librarian to guide a student toward authoritative resources in a way that is efficient, compelling and relevant.

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

We foresee two innovations: A true solution to cross-searchability and a more affordable and accessible ‘tablet.’

In today’s landscape, there are many programs and solutions for cross-searchability but not one solution that can seamlessly and easily search a library’s entire collection and perhaps even offer different ‘skins’ for the various age groups or levels.

Over the past few years, we have seen many digital devices enter the marketplace; from the Kindle to the Nook to the iPad.  We envision a more affordable tablet that will meet the needs of all these devices.

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


Cengage Learning is keeping the ever evolving role of the librarian and the changing needs of the user in mind as we develop new online solutions.

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.