SCCLD-JukePop Launch Self-Published eBook Platform
Innovation SummarySCCLD partnered with Silicon Valley startup JukePop to bring free, online self-published serial fiction to library patrons in an easy to use eBook format. Through this partnership, SCCLD is able to offer self-published authors an online platform to showcase their stories, chapter by chapter to build readership and gain feedback.
CHALLENGES: The challenges faced by libraries to bring eBooks to readers are threefold:
- Libraries pay three times more for eBooks than consumers due to publisher restrictions.
- Digital rights management code embedded in eBooks allow only one reader to access an eBook title at one time.
- Libraries have been forced to contract with a variety of vendors whose eBook platforms are cumbersome and difficult for readers to use.
These challenges discourage eBook readers from using libraries to access eBook content. Additionally, these factors have created barriers for new authors to distribute free, self-published eBook content to readers.
OPPORTUNITY: By partnering with JukePop, SCCLD provides readers with access to 800 self-published eBooks in an easy-to-use format. JukePop authors and book titles featured on the SCCLD website are separated into completed novels and works of episodic fiction. JukePop titles are free for all readers and can be accessed directly on the SCCLD website by multiple users simultaneously. Selected JukePop content has been curated by JukePop’s reading analytics, and refined by SCCLD librarians who make the final selection of the JukePop titles for SCCLD patrons. “SCCLD benefits from increased traffic to its site and reaches a new set of readers; those interested in self-published content who may not be aware of the Library’s additional comprehensive collection of eBook offerings,” notes Megan Wong, SCCLD Virtual Library Manager.
The key elements of innovation for the SCCLD-JukePop partnership include:
- Disrupting the cost-prohibitive model of eBook purchasing for public libraries by providing new, self-published content to readers at NO ADDITIONAL COST to SCCLD or JukePop;
- Providing all readers with an easy-to-use platform to access self-published content of talented authors;
- Offering multiple readers simultaneous access to the same content via the SCCLD web site;
- Increasing the visibility of a public library system and a Silicon Valley startup company who are both experimenting with new platforms and formats to make eBook and self-published content available to readers for free;
- Rejuvenating the lost art of the serial fiction, whereby stories are proactively and constantly reviewed by readers to gauge the acceptance (or not) of individual books;
- Breaking down the prejudices and biases that many public libraries and librarians have traditionally held toward self-published content and its place in library collections;
- Providing an exciting new forum for burgeoning authors, as well as for those individuals who are fine-tuning their editorial and reviewing skills;
- Providing self-published writers with a chance to prove to themselves to potential agents and to the literary world that their work is appealing and worthy of being published;
- Providing an exciting opportunity for Librarians to develop their professional reputations as eBook content specialists; and
- Establishing that JukePop content is not a part of the SCCLD collection, even though it is featured on the SCCLD website. All questions, concerns, and challenges regarding content are referred to JukePop.
This project was launched within the last 30 days. Accordingly, we are monitoring this project to assess these anticipated outcomes:
- Providing a free, easy-to-use platform for all readers to access and enjoy self-published fiction;
- Establishing SCCLD as a leader among public libraries for bringing self-published eBook content to the public;
- Establishing JukePop as an industry leader willing to work with public libraries to expand the market for self-published content;
- Creating a niche market for Librarians to develop professional reputations as content selectors;
- Driving more traffic to the SCCLD and JukePop websites; thereby reaching new audiences;
- Fostering an ongoing relationship with JukePop to bring more eBook content, and self-published content, to readers; and
- Providing an opportunity and a platform for the public to "discover" up-and-coming, self-published writers who, as a result of this project, are able to secure agents and publishing deals.
To date, the following lessons have been learned through this project:
- It is possible for a public library to have a successful collaboration with a Silicon Valley startup company;
- It is possible to develop an in-kind partnership that required no outside funding;
- The development cycle for this partnership took longer than expected, but the partners were patient, open to new ideas, and listened to patron feedback and adapted accordingly;
- Library patrons want access to more high-quality self-published content; and 5. Library patrons want access to more episodic/serial content.