Monday, November 28, 2005

Harlequin Enters a New Market

Last month, Harlequin announced an interesting initiative. In a press release distributed by Overdrive, Inc., Harlequin indicated they would make many of their "novels available as downloadable eBooks through library websites."

Overdrive, which describes itself as "a leading digital book vendor for libraries and retailers," uses a platform designed for libraries so that they can lend virtual copies of books to patrons. The Digital Library Reserve (DLR) platform offers libraries 24/7 access to the books the library has purchased.

According to DLR, library "(p)atrons download and enjoy their selected eBooks, digital audio books, or other digital media anytime and anywhere." DLR boasts that the library can set its own loan periods and checkout maximums. "Best of all, items are automatically checked in."

Among the libraries using DLR are the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the New York Public Library, the Boston Public Library, the Los Angeles Public Library, and the Denver Public Library.

The Executive VP for Strategy and new Business Development for Harlequin said, "This partnership allows us to share our entertaining and diverse women's fiction catalogue with both first-time and loyal readers in an exciting new format."

Under the DLR testimonial page, a librarian is quoted as saying that patrons are "able to borrow, read and return a book without having to leave their home, and the automatic return feature means no fine."

Perhaps the libraries of the future will not be a bricks-and-mortar building so much as a virtual library website that patrons can browse from the convenience of their homes, checking out materials that are automatically erased from their computers at pre-set times.


David Garcea said...

I hope that libraries of the future still have a physical location, because they are a great place for kids to go.

When I was in grade school, my father thought that the library made a good after-school daycare program. Instead of being a latchkey kid, I walked to the library after school, and spent my (almost completely unsupervised) time reading and looking at the pictures in the books. When they closed, it was off to the pizzeria, which was no where near as interesting. At the time, I wished I was a latchkey kid, so that I wouldn't feel homeless, but now I think of all of the things I learned about, like origami, and mummification, and I think it was worth it.

As an adult, I find the book sales of the local libraries to be the cheapest way to feed my need. If the libraries didn't have physical books taking up space, there would be no book sales.

Maya said...

David: Your post made me smile. When I was about eight years old, I entertained fantasies of hiding in the library overnight. The two-story building in St. Petersburg was the most wonderful place in the world to me. The idea of having the entire building to myself at night or over a weekend was the height of my juvenile ambition.