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Nook Book Club Kit

Durham County Library
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Innovation Leader: Gina Rozier, Marketing and Development Manager, grozier@durhamcountync.gov

Problem Statement

Based on responses to an online survey, Durham County Library determined that many customers are interested in the latest technologies, especially eBooks. The library currently carries only non-downloadable eBooks and those that are in the public domain and offered for free, no new titles. With ongoing budget reductions, the library is not positioned to make large-scale purchases of new technology. The challenge was to find a way to introduce popular eBook titles on an affordable scale in order to give customers interested in trying this new technology an opportunity to do so.

Innovation

In November 2010, with a $5,600 grant from the Friends of the Durham Library, the library purchased 24 Nook eBook Readers. The Nook was selected because it is compatible with the library’s current eBook provider, Overdrive. It was determined that a good way to introduce such a limited number of eReaders to customers was to use the Nooks as book club kits. When the service started, the library had 37 paper copy book club kits, with 32 holds. The library decided to address two problems at once by loading a few of the most popular book club titles onto the Nooks to decrease wait times, while giving customers access to a new book format. Public Service staff was trained on the use of the Nooks. The new Nook Book Club Kits were publicized on the library’s website, in the media and in library publications. Book clubs with 2-12 members can reserve the Nooks for up to four weeks.

Progress

Within the first 30 days of availability all the Nooks were checked out, and one kit was returned and checked out again. By introducing the Nooks in a book club format, the library has been able to control demand of a limited product by attaching restrictions that would not apply to individual checkout items. Yet the flexibility in the number of members a book club must have has allowed a wider audience to experience the Nooks, and has probably spawned some impromptu book club formations. Customer feedback in response to surveys included with the Book Club Kits has been positive. The Nook Book Club Kit has also been a factor in easing demand for paper copy book club kits. The number of holds for those kits has dropped to eight. Customers have also reported a benefit in being able to borrow an eReader from the library before making a decision to purchase one.