Library services are changing, offering more access to content and brand new applications. We will look at several over the next month. We will begin by examining mainstream services that include streaming or downloading content.
Libraries have the option to offer streaming music and movies, but we are not alone. Streaming is extremely popular, with offerings in consumer products with free or fee-based subscriptions, such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, Pandora Radio, Google Play Movies/Music, or YouTube, just to name a few. There are products that also offer patrons and customers similar access to eBook content. Let's look a few that could compete with library services:
Options for Everyone:
eBooks and audiobooks. ($9.99/month, 700,000+ titles) Read on any device via app or browser. Publications include offerings of Pottermore, 14 Amazon imprints, and a lot of self-published* works. You may also want to read the recent article revolving around authors' reaction to the Kindle Unlimited subscription service, Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books. Authors Turn Up Noses, which appeared in The New York Times.
eBooks. ($8.99/month, plus 30,000 audiobooks for an additional fee) Unlimited access to over 500,000 titles. Available as an app to mobile devices, including Apple iOS, Google Play (Android), Kindle Fires, Nook HD, and Windows Phones. Also available to PC or Mac users via a browser. Publishers include HarperCollins and Smashwords (self-published/Indie book distributor*).
ebooks only. ($9.95/month) Unlimited access to over 500,000 titles. Available as an app to mobile devices, including Apple iOS, Google Play (Android) and Kindle Fires. Currently not available to PC users. Publishers include HarperCollins (10,000 titles), Simon & Schuster, and Smashwords. (SMASHWORDS!)
Options for Kids:
eBooks and video. (Subscriptions starting at $9.99/month) Apple iOS or Kindle Fire, although Android and web browser versions are due soon. Unlimited access, but 5 checkouts at a time. Includes 400 books and 100 educational and exclusive videos.
*Note that self-published works are available in 3 venues. Self-published titles are becoming a huge and important part of the eBook world. Just look at the overwhelming success of Fifty Shades of Grey or titles from Amanda Hocking. In the third quarter of 2014, self published works ranked as the top 6th publisher, according to Digital World.
Next week, we will look at streaming/downloading services for libraries that can compete with consumer products.
mbrisbin [at] chplnj.org