Ingram is Getting into Library eBooks

I'm on my way home from PLA 2012, but I was lucky enough to get tipped to new library ebook vendor (new to me, anyway). I caught a few minutes with Ingram this afternoon, and it looks like the library ebook market is getting very interesting.

Ingram is a huge aggregator of books, ebooks, and other content for the retail market, and today I learned that they're entering the public library market as well. The MyiLibrary service is best thought of as a direct competitor to OverDrive (that's how it was described to me). I don't have full details on it, but I did pick up a fact or 2.

Ingram was here today to show off an expansion on the library service that they have been offering academic libraries for 6 4 years now. It integrates with a library's existing Ingram account, and librarians can use the same setup to buy both print and digital content.

Content is something of a mixed bag. Ingram has been offering this to academic libraries for some time, and I was told that they had over 300 thousand titles available. But I was also told that most of the content wouldn't interest public libraries, and that Ingram currently offers only around 4 thousand nonfiction and 10 thousand fiction titles for public libraries.

I'm not so sure that the academic and public libraries overlap as little as that, but I'll leave it up to a librarian to double check.

There's a base charge of $500 a year for the service. That is rather low; in comparison, I overheard that 3M is asking for a $15,000 system fee plus a commitment of $15k in content. Ingram also isn't offering its own apps, but they do support Adobe DRM and I was told they recommend Bluefire Reader (Android and iOS).

That's not very impressive, is it? Well, this is Ingram, so I would expect their selection to improve. They certainly have the contacts for it already. I would say they are definitely a vendor to reconsider in 6 months to a year.

And I would say that Ingram has at least one thing going for it. They're a content distributor, so you know they're not going to pull out of the market.

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