Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Califa to Add Smashwords Content

California library cooperative Califa Group has announced a deal to add 10,000 self-published ebooks from Smashwords to the ebook collection they are creating for member libraries. This follows an earlier announcement that additional funding has been secured to continue their yet-unnamed ebook collection project, which is based on Douglas County's model of library-control of ebook content and DRM management (as opposed to passively accepting what Overdrive or 3M will do for us).

Smashwords is allowing authors to set individual pricing for library sales, leaving open the possibility that our prices will be lower (perhaps free). Perhaps independent authors will be more open to our case that libraries are a discovery platform rather than a threat (which seems to be a common view with some of the big publishers).

Interestingly, the deal also includes creating a self-publishing program to allow patrons to publish their own works on Smashwords. Moving libraries to the forefront in content-creation opens many new options for libraries.


Friday, June 22, 2012

HP Launches New Web Kiosk

Hewlett-Packard is now selling the Passport 1912nm, an all-in-one kiosk-style device for web browsing that they call an "Internet Monitor".

Running a locked-down version of Linux, the Passport offers web-browsing (through an old version of Firefox) plus the ability to view photos or listen to music loaded via the unit's USB ports.  Office-type tasks could be done through web-based applications such as Google Docs.   The Passport is available today and lists for $259. 

Following the launch of the Google/Samsung Chromebox last month (which lists for $329 and requires a monitor), the Passport shows there is life in the thin client space after all, and provides another compelling alternative to libraries tiring of providing Internet access to patrons using costly personal computers running Windows, then having staff lock them down to handle the hand-to-hand combat of public computing.