Front cover of the book Finding the Vein which portrays the title on a forested background.

Positive Predictions for FINDING THE VEIN

As of writing this, Finding the Vein is on the verge of publication and the entire team is so excited! We’ve been working on a number of things to ensure that the book has an excellent launch. Ooligan has partnered with Hood River’s favorite indie book retailer, Waucoma Bookstore, to host our virtual launch event. Our team has been hard at work creating content for our social media campaign, and we’re getting the word out through our local library partners. While this post will be going up after the launch for Finding the Vein has officially kicked off, rest assured that our team will keep the enthusiasm rolling as we continue to promote Ooligan Press’s first mystery novel.
The Finding the Vein team partnered with Waucoma Bookstore to host our Zoom launch event on April 20, 2021. As Ooligan’s third foray into digital launches, it was an interesting event to set up and gave our team members the opportunity to work with an independent bookstore to arrange an evening that would serve the interests of the press, the author, and the shop itself. The terms of the launch had to be negotiated carefully to ensure that everyone was happy with the outcomes.
Originally, the bookstore wanted to do a traditional Zoom room for the event to allow the audience to pop on camera and ask their questions during the Q&A. The case they made for this modality was in good spirits, and the bookstore representatives wanting to allow for a similar kind of audience engagement one would have at an in-person launch event is understandable. However, our team was concerned about some of the hazards this modality could pose to the event’s schedule and that it might cause lag if the event was well attended. Most of us are familiar with Zoom-era horror stories of someone forgetting to turn off their microphone or have experienced firsthand the bandwidth problems of having too many cameras on at once. On top of that, we were also concerned that if people decided to keep their cameras on that it could distract from the author and do a disservice to the launch experience. Lastly, we were worried that the chat, which we wouldn’t be able to disable in a standard session, would also distract from the questions audience members wanted to ask. It took us a bit, but we got everyone on board with a webinar format instead as it would bypass so many of the problems we were hoping to avoid. Of course, by the time this blog is released, the event will have already happened, and because of the team’s careful planning and dedication to quality, I’m certain that it will have been a hit!
The Finding the Vein team is also hard at work creating engaging social media content both for the launch event and for the weeks following the launch. We’re leaning heavily into the mystery plot and imagery of the Pacific Northwest for our campaign, tapping into some of the most celebrated themes of the book to engage readers. On top of social media, Oolies have been distributing posters throughout the city to advertise the launch, using the beautiful Oolie-designed cover to catch the eyes of passersby. We’re not alone in promoting Finding the Vein as our partners at the Multnomah County Library Writers Project are also busily working to distribute the book through their system and help increase patron awareness of it once it officially launches.
With the launch of Finding the Vein, it’s only natural for one to think: “What’s next?” We have an exciting new project on the horizon—but all I can tell you right now is that it’s going to be awesome. The incoming project manager, Wren Haines, will be taking over for the outgoing manager, the amazing Bailey Potter, at the end of the term and they will be announcing the new project in detail soon! So stay tuned to Ooligan’s official channels for an update about next year’s Library Writers Project release.
Finding the Vein launched on April 20, 2021, in both trade paperback and ebook formats. To learn more about the Library Writers Project and how to submit work to the Multnomah County Library, please visit their website.

A library shelf with hanging lights above it.

The Weird and Wonderful Brautigan Library

If you ask any writer why they write, odds are the answer will be because they have a story to tell and a unique perspective to offer. If you ask an editor why they edit or a publisher why they publish books, the answer will almost always be because they love discovering stories with a unique perspective to offer. It’s not, as is often assumed about publishers, to be “gatekeepers” of which stories are worth reading. The business of publishing is difficult because it is almost entirely based on whether or not a manuscript will appeal to a broad audience; if there isn’t a huge perceived audience, publishers unfortunately have to say no to manuscripts that would otherwise be amazing books all the time.
Where do all those rejected manuscripts go? Do authors bury them in hard drives and recycle bins, never to see the light of publication? For one particular author, this did not seem right. Richard Brautigan, an American author with origins in Washington state, wrote about a library where the only purpose was “to gather pleasantly together the unwanted, the lyrical and haunted volumes of American writing.” He had a few popular novels in the 60s and 70s, but never saw his vision played out. In 1990, Todd Lockwood was inspired by Brautigan’s 1971 novel, The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 and founded the Brautigan Library in Burlington, Vermont. The mission: “Archive and curate unpublished analogue and digital books by unknown, but aspiring, writers.”
The original collection houses a little over three hundred manuscripts from thirty-nine US states and four countries. These are all cataloged by a very unique system called the Mayonnaise System. In this organizational system created specifically for the Brautigan Library, manuscripts are sorted according to fifteen general categories (much like BISAC codes we use for bookstores), the year they were submitted, and the order of acquisition to the category. Some examples of categories include Adventure, Family, Love, War and Peace, Meaning of Life, and All the Rest. As for how the system got its name, in the early days of the original library, category sections were marked by actual mayonnaise jars! The jars were apparently a reference to one of Brautigan’s more popular novels. After a few fell and spewed their contents all over the floor, the practice stopped.
The library had to close in 2005 and store all the manuscripts until 2010 when a partnership between Washington State University and Clark County Historical Museum brought the collection to Vancouver, Washington. Now, there is both the original collection as well as a digital collection. A new category was added to the Mayonnaise System, Digital (DIG), and there have been over one hundred more submissions since 2013. You can visit their website here to see synopses provided by authors and librarians’ comments on the manuscripts.
This library is a beautiful concept because it rejects the notion that all literature needs to be entertainment. Yes, there is importance in the publishing process and most manuscripts go through many changes to become the commercially successful works of art that they are, but this space is also important. A place where the American compulsion to be comparable to everyone else doesn’t exist; creators are free to create without fear of failure. The current curator, John F. Barber says, “The Brautigan Library is not about being published, or even about literature. It’s about people telling their stories in a democratic way. It is a home for grassroots narratives in a digital age.” Clark County Historical Museum is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, when the county reopens, the Brautigan Library is a short drive away for authors and publishers from the PNW to come and appreciate literature outside of commercial success.

Reaching Unconventional Contacts

Welcome back to Finding the Vein by Jennifer Hanlon Wilde, Ooligan’s third title in the Library Writers Project, our partnership with Multnomah County Library. Ooligan’s first mystery title follows two detectives, a teen sleuth and a police sergeant, as they and their respective partners-in-crime (or in-justice, as the case may be) investigate a camp counselor’s death. In addition to the multiple potential murderers and classic mystery genre red herrings, Finding the Vein is filled with comedy and heart.

When we developed the marketing plan for this book, we included unconventional contacts that were appropriate for the themes in Finding the Vein. These included adoption associations, libraries, book clubs, and summer camps, in addition to the typical contacts that a project team collects such as national and regional publications and magazines, independent bookstores, individual bloggers and book reviewers on social media, and podcasts. Our question was this: How do we reach the unconventional ones? Thankfully, some of the libraries are already taken care of through our partnership with LWP: Multnomah County Library purchases a few copies of the LWP books as they are published to distribute among Multnomah County’s library branches. For the adoption associations, other libraries, book clubs, and summer camps, though, we needed to get more creative. Due to COVID-19, our options were limited because we didn’t have the usual physical collateral that teams include in a sales kit.

We decided that we needed to design something versatile that could be used both physically and virtually in both our marketing and social media campaigns, and we came up with the idea of designing a summer camp–themed postcard. We have a small budget set aside for collateral, which we haven’t used yet, so this is a completely doable strategy. First, we’ll send our contacts an email that informs them of the forthcoming Finding the Vein, gives a summary of the book, describes why it may be of interest to them, and encourages them to tell their colleagues about it. If we get a response, we will send them a physical postcard; that way we don’t waste any by sending them to contacts who won’t be interested or informed of its relevance beforehand. Hopefully we will receive more sales through these connections. At most, we may receive a couple of reviews or an announcement in a newsletter out of our efforts, both of which would be fantastic to have from these more specialized contacts.

The additional benefit of designing a postcard is that we can use it virtually as well. I’ll be sending it to Jennifer, the author, in case she’d like to use it during her email preorder campaign in the early spring of 2021, as well as for usage on her website and blog. They can also be printed out and used as flyers, so we’ll be sure to send the independent bookstores and libraries on our contact list a virtual copy as well. Lastly, the design can be used as an image on social media. Through the combined usage of the postcard design, we are essentially creating an immediately recognizable image that nearly every one of our contacts (and their associates) will eventually see in some format. This ensures that if they or a member of our intended audience sees Finding the Vein on a bookshelf or an online store, they will be that much more likely to purchase it, and in turn, tell others about it.

I’m excited to see how our postcard campaign moves forward, and I can’t wait to see its results!

Finding the Vein will launch on April 20, 2021, in both trade paperback and ebook formats. To learn more about the Library Writers Project and how to submit work to the Multnomah County Library, please visit their website.

The Mystery Behind the Mystery Genre

Overseeing the process of publishing Ooligan’s third title in our partnership with Multnomah County Library and their Library Writers Project has been a whirlwind of mystery and excitement so far. From designing the cover to crafting our marketing plan, Finding the Vein has shown how different the publishing process can be for different genres. As a reminder, Finding the Vein is written by Jennifer Hanlon Wilde and is about a murder at a summer camp for adopted international children. After a well-liked counselor mysteriously dies, camper Isaac and his new friend Hal—a duo not unlike Sherlock Holmes and John Watson—begin to theorize with their fellow campers what could have happened. Sergeant Mikie O’Malley is called to the scene to investigate the case and, due to the nature of the camp, is reminded of her recent discovery that she and her father are not biologically related. Soon, both the amateur and professional detectives come to the conclusion that Paul was murdered. The question is how. All parties involved slowly realize that there is more to Heritage Camp than meets the eye, and the murder is just the beginning.

As the LWP team saw last year while researching the romance genre when working on Iditarod Nights, it can be difficult but also incredibly rewarding to learn how to publish a new genre. Like every kind of genre fiction, we knew that the mystery genre has a large audience, which would be great for Ooligan to break into. We just needed to get there. How? Well, that’s part of the mystery.

Working as detectives, the LWP team investigated the best ways to design the cover—the first step in order to properly reach the desired audience. We researched popular design decisions for mystery and thriller books, finding that dark and misty forest photographs and all-caps sans serif fonts would set the scene of this title perfectly while still meeting the expectations of mystery-book lovers. With this in mind, our designers got to work. What came out is a beautiful cover design that not only solidifies Finding the Vein as a mystery book to its audience, but one that looks like it belongs to the same collection as the two previous LWP titles, The Gifts We Keep and Iditarod Nights. In addition, the design is lighthearted enough to fit the other aspects of Finding the Vein, such as the comedic interactions of the endearing characters, the setting of a summer camp, and themes such as identity and learning what it means to be LGBTQ+.

In regards to marketing, Finding the Vein proved again to be educational to the LWP team. We needed to rethink how to reach our desired audience, so we began researching mystery book bloggers, reviewers, podcasters, and book clubs. We searched for adoption associations, summer camps, and LGBTQ+ media that may be interested in other aspects of the book as well. We are excited about what kinds of attention Finding the Vein may receive once we start inquiring about blurbs and reviews from all of our collected contacts!

In addition to the above-mentioned progress, Finding the Vein has undergone a developmental edit, a heavy copyedit, a medium copyedit, and has been prepared for the design process via XML typecoding. Next up, we’ll see the finalized galley, finish up the social media strategy plan, and do a print proofread.

Finding the Vein will launch in April 2021 in both trade paperback and ebook formats. I can’t wait to see how this title progresses through the publication process and to finally hold it in my hands. For updates on this title and others, stay tuned to Ooligan’s blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. To learn more about the Library Writers Project and how to submit work to the Multnomah County Library, please visit their website.

When We Dream About the Future: Digital Ambiguity in 2020

Greetings from the Digital Department here at Ooligan Press. First, a quick query for our more CMOS-centric students and readers. Even before I was given the role of Digital Assistant last winter term, I pondered the correct verbiage for our department. I’ve overheard others call it the Digital “Asset” or “Content” department and feel I must clear things up. “Content,” as a (contemporary) cultural touchstone has become almost ubiquitous within our digital lives: we consume content constantly, daily, minute by minute. The term has even entered popular slang with creatives and business professionals alike in an abbreviated form with “slingin’ ‘tent” popularized by writer and producer Scott Aukerman. Both asset and content connote the objects we are making at the press, yet both fall short of describing the breadth of bringing these works into the world. We don’t often get comments, but if you’ve got an opinion on our official title, we’d love to hear it!

According to Publisher’s Weekly, companies like the juggernaut Penguin Random House “…are producing bespoke events and experiences around their content, and I think we should all be doing that…This has given us all an opportunity to go a little bit beyond that, but also to produce content that feels really authentic to certain groups of people who are hungry for it.”

Along with traditional book objects and newer media like audiobooks, ebooks, and interactive storytelling, publishers are also reinventing the convention space (more often these spaces are virtual). Rethinking our concepts of what is digital, what is physical, and what the grayness in between looks like is the bigger idea that I’d like to cull out of this modest blog post. Inspired by our brilliant professor Dr. Kathi Inman Berens’s Digital Skills course, I’ve set a long-term goal to focus our department’s resources on our stewardship. We are only here for a short time and part of our work is to always improve, innovate, and embrace ambiguity; to work through it. Certainly, this pandemic has highlighted the ways in which our lives have been shaped by our digital landscape and simultaneously prepared us for remote learning, remote working, and for change.

This shift can also be seen in the ever-present space of the library: a wellspring of digital content and a champion for the ebook (a technology that mirrors The Little Engine That Could). “In my opinion, one of the issues libraries face in the digital realm is that the publishers are so deeply invested in twentieth century models. I am hoping this helps shake them out of that,” [Carmi] Parker said. “This opportunity to experiment with different models means that when we start talking again with publishers about how e-lending can work best for all of us, we will have some real data to go on.” The pandemic has in fact amplified a progression of ebook popularity and has lent to a “Watershed Moment for Library Ebooks” according to Andrew Albanese in his article for Publisher’s Weekly. I feel privileged and grateful to be part of such an exciting field laden with meaningful opportunities for cultural transformation.

Book Exchanges: A Treasure Hunt and a Marketing Tool

For independent presses and self-published authors, marketing is one of the most important factors in a book’s success. Oftentimes we associate marketing with the publication date, but really it’s a process that starts at the very beginning, when a manuscript is acquired, and lasts for as long as you want it to. But with new projects and a busy schedule, sometimes it can become difficult to actively promote a title for years to come. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be all about scheduling social media posts and newsletters: there are other ways to gain exposure for your titles!

Book exchanges have become increasingly popular in recent years. Generally, the process involves swapping books with strangers for free. This allows readers to expand their reading collection and discover new authors. With over ninety thousand registered libraries in ninety-one countries worldwide, the nonprofit organization Little Libraries has become very successful in inspiring more readers. The general idea of “give a book and take a book” draws people in to browse the little wooden box’s contents. Imagine the excitement if a curious wanderer happened upon a brand-new, freshly published book from a local press! This is a great way to gain free local support and exposure for new independent titles or even self-published authors. Slipping in free bookmarks or postcards with your press’s name and website is a great way to market your booklist; if the reader likes the copy they’ve picked up, no doubt they will want to learn more about the press and the author.

For even more widespread exposure, there are book-exchange sites like BookCrossing, which comes with a neat benefit—you can track where your book ends up! You register your book on the website for free, receive a code and a label, then release the book into the wild to get “caught.” This can be interpreted in many ways: the BookCrossing community allows its members to connect and personally exchange books, leave a book in an “Official BookCrossing Zone,” or place a book somewhere random and register the location on the site. Some readers even set up wishlists, where you can send the book to them directly. This book treasure hunt is appealing to many: the site has garnered over 850,000 active BookCrossers to date worldwide. Sending copies (along with marketing materials) to BookCrossers is another innovative way to execute free, passive marketing for your titles. As a bonus, if you keep track of the book by utilizing its individual code, promoting the treasure hunt on your social media platforms can be a fun way to engage readers and fans.

Marketing can be one of the most exciting elements of publishing: it pushes one to be constantly innovative in order to bring exposure to fresh, exhilarating stories. When strategizing for how we can market a book to the right target audience, we often forget that for readers, sometimes the best way to find a book isn’t online through a search bar, but organically. After all, nothing beats the serendipity of stumbling upon a book that catches your eye and rifling through the pages that are just waiting to take you on your next adventure.

Preorder Gifts As a Marketing Strategy

Have you ever fallen prey to a beautiful book and bought it simply because it was pretty? It’s no secret that a visually pleasing book is likely to catch the eye of potential readers. Cover designers work hard, and well-made covers are usually responsible for someone stopping to browse. A similar phenomenon happens with preorder gifts, which leave readers desiring more than just the story.

Before diving into preorder gifts as a marketing strategy, let’s discuss the reasons for preordering a book in the first place. If your TBR list is as long as mine, buying a book now versus six months after publication won’t make a difference, especially since used copies might be available at a lower price. And there is always the local library.

The most important reason for preordering is that it helps the author. The more preorders, the more books the bookstores will stock. More stock means more visibility on shelves, which means a higher likelihood that people will see the book and buy it. The second reason is that preordering can be beneficial to the reader, as preorders usually come at a discounted price.

However, consumers are starting to take deals and discounts for granted. In his article “5 Irresistible Customer Incentives,” Sven, a content creator for Userlike, discusses how consumers have come to expect deals and how providing extra value—or incentives—attracts consumers. In the book world, incentives can come in the form of preorder gifts, signed books, special events, and giveaways, among other things. All of these are effective strategies to employ during a preorder campaign.But how does this apply to using incentives as a marketing strategy during preorder campaigns?

The first step to understanding the value of incentives is understanding the reasons consumers make incentive-based purchases. Sven lists scarcity, loss aversion, instant gratification, social conscience appeal, and social proof as five factors involved in a consumer’s decision to purchase a product. If the product is scarce, if consumers feel like they are likely to lose out, if consumers are able to obtain the product quickly and easily, if consumers feel like they are making a difference with their purchase, or if by purchasing that product consumers believe they are making a statement, consumers are more likely to buy the product.

To demonstrate this, I’ll use a purchase of mine as an example. I recently fell victim to Descendant of the Crane by Joan He, which I found while scrolling through my Twitter feed. More specifically, I came across Joan’s post about the gifts—an elegant-looking golden crane bookmark and a handful of beautiful character cards—for her preorder campaign. The beautiful character cards caught my eye and made me want to check out the story. Princess turned queen after the mysterious death of the king? Power struggles? Magic and mystery? Definitely up my alley.

The book was a week away from the pub date, and in her Twitter thread Joan had confirmed that all of the bookmarks were gone. I realized that if I didn’t make my purchase right away, the author might run out of character cards too. That’s the moment I decided to purchase the book—because of scarcity, loss aversion, and instant gratification. In less than three minutes, I had made the purchase and filled out the form to receive my preorder gift.

All that is to say that preorder gifts can serve not only as an extra incentive to preorder the book, but also as the gateway to a new reader. Additionally, they serve as a way to create buzz on social media. When readers see others on social media posting about the same book and receiving their preorder gifts, they will believe the book is good and want to buy it as well (social proof).

Since that purchase, other preorder campaigns have popped up on my timeline, including those for We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, Puddin’ by Julie Murphy, and Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. The possibilities for preorder gifts are unlimited, and these gifts can be approached very creatively depending on the topic of the book.

Who’s Staying in Virginia Woolf’s Room?

Nestled against the edge of Nye Beach—the northern, less commercial part of Newport, Oregon—is the Sylvia Beach Hotel. Sylvia Beach, the hotel’s namesake, was a Baltimore transplant, bookseller, and publisher who opened the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris in 1919. This bookstore became the official hangout of famed American writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a bed-and-breakfast that houses twenty-one rooms, each of which is decorated with a specific author in mind—right down to the fireplaces and claw-foot tubs. There’s no Wi-Fi, no TV, not even telephones for room service. It’s a full immersion into another time, when the written (or typewritten) word carried more weight than a tweet.

Built in 1912 and renovated in the 1980s, the hotel has just enough squeak in the stair and just enough musty book smell in the reader’s attic to give bibliophiles the chills. Rooms are categorized as either “Classics,” “Best Sellers,” or “Novels.” Mark Twain’s bust sits over the mantel, Jules Verne’s submarine door clangs shut every evening, and Shakespeare’s room has dueling swords mounted on the wall, just in case.

It’s perfect for a writer’s retreat or a solitary writer’s escape, as well as for hosting a reading, a book launch, or a writing workshop. And can we talk about the library?

To give you an idea of what the Sylvia Beach Hotel has to offer, here’s a description from their website:

This is truly a hotel for book lovers. There are no TVs, radios, or telephones in the rooms and no Wi-Fi. It is a quiet place on most days. Except for the glorious storms. Then the wind howls, the building shakes, and the rain pounds down. Some days it’s warm and sunny and the sky is bright blue. Some days there’s morning fog. Some days the wind makes you stay inside and read! Some days are rainbow days, the weather just can’t decide. The ocean is always present (the hotel is on a forty-five-foot bluff right above the surf). You move into the rhythm of the sea. Perhaps that’s why time seems to slow way down, almost to a standstill.

If you find it difficult to choose your favorite room, mull the decision over at dinner. Every night is different at the Tables of Content Restaurant, located on the first floor of the hotel. Enjoy a four-course meal prepared with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Dine with the guests and discuss literature, politics, death, or your favorite poem. With an ocean sunset, rich wine, and good company, you’ll be begging to stay the night. Don’t expect an online reservation. The old-fashioned theme carries over into their books—yes, actual handwritten reservation books. This experience is one of a kind and a mere two-and-a-half hours from Portland.

The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a tribute to an exceptional publisher and supporter of writers worth believing in, but this place is also dedicated to book lovers, page folders, bookmark hoarders, wannabe Hemingways, and moody Virginia Woolfs. It’s a love letter to books, a haven for the peace and adventure that comes from stepping into the mind of another for a little while.

OverDrive and Your Local Library

Like so much else in the world of books, libraries have an unfair reputation for being behind the times or inconvenient. The truth is, libraries are often up-to-date on the latest technology and the most efficient ways of getting knowledge into the hands of the masses. So with the ever-increasing popularity of ebooks and audiobooks, it should come as no surprise that it’s possible to borrow titles from anywhere there’s internet access.

OverDrive is a free app that allows anyone with a device that uses Android 4.0 or higher, Chrome OS41 or higher, iOS 9 or higher, or Windows 8 or 10 to rent ebooks and audiobooks directly from their local library. A desktop version of the app is also available across various operating systems. The app is connected to most public libraries in the US, including the Multnomah County Library.

Users can set up an account using a library card (or even just a phone number and a postal code) and can begin browsing their library’s available ebooks and audiobooks. Placing holds is simple, and the app uses email alerts to announce when titles are available. It’s even possible for users to suggest books they would like their library to purchase within the app. Books are returned automatically at the end of a twenty-one day period, meaning there is no way to incur late fees for titles borrowed through OverDrive. Users can read books on their phones, computers, or tablets, or send books to their Kindle (for other ereaders, the process is less streamlined). OverDrive has even produced a companion smartphone app, Libby, which is more attractive and user friendly, but currently compatible with fewer devices.

While OverDrive is getting its fair share of attention for making borrowing from the local library more convenient than ever before, there are actual quantitative measures by which this accessibility can be evaluated. In 2018, more than four million new digital library users used the OverDrive app for the first time. Some people tend to balk at the increasing relationship between books and the digital world, as evidenced by the notion of recent years that ebooks would wipe out print books for good (not to worry, print books are as popular as ever). However, the massive amount of new users recorded last year indicates that increasing readers’ access to books in the digital format draws a healthy audience.

There are also intangible ways that access to a public library’s digital catalog positively affects accessibility. For anyone who lives or works far from a library, being able to borrow books online saves significant time and transportation costs. OverDrive can also defray the cost of subscriptions to companies like Audible by providing digital audiobooks for download. Public libraries exist to provide free and easy access to information to the population they serve, and the OverDrive app has made providing and obtaining that information easier than ever.

Instant Entertainment: Ebooks at the Library

Tech-savvy bibliophiles around the globe have frequently asked for a “Netflix” for books. However, what they seem to be forgetting is that this service already exists. It’s called the library. However, as with anything publicly funded, the digital side of libraries has been slow to grow. In 2016, Publishers Weekly reported librarians’ general worry over the expense of ebooks. And a 2017 report from the Library Journal indicates that on average, libraries allocate only 9 percent of their budget to ebooks. Because of this slower growth, a couple of other subscription-based ebook services have popped up.

That being said, there are a few reasons to choose the local library for your ebook needs. First of all, it’s free! The quality of the titles is another reason. While some of the other services may boast more titles, they often pad their numbers with whatever cheap publication they can find, and these are often self-published ebooks. A library’s titles are chosen by the readers and the highly trained librarians. Libraries also support small publishers and self-published books through programs like the Library Journal self-e, which focuses on local authors.

Overdrive, the leading ebook lending service, connects to thousands of libraries around the world, and just celebrated their 1 billionth ebook rental. Overdrive has millions of digital titles, and any library can acquire any number of those titles. This is where the budget comes in. The more the digital services are utilized at a library, the more of the library’s budget can go towards ebook titles.

Overdrive is easy to sign up for and use. They’ve even instituted a digital library card program, so now you really can download the app, get a library card, and borrow dozens of ebooks all without ever leaving your home. Of course, it’s mobile too! Ebooks are great for traveling, and there are even some airport kiosks that offer temporary library cards for travelers (a service soon to be obsolete with the new digital cards).

Libraries are important. This is a sentiment most book-lovers, students, and publishers agree on. Like most services that are publicly funded, libraries must remain important in the public eye in order to retain their funding. This means that readers are important to libraries. Unfortunately, the Multnomah County Library has some alarming numbers to report: this year, only 55 percent of those polled thought it would be a great loss for a library to shut down. This number fell from 71 percent in the last ten years. While libraries may be a little slow keeping up with the fast pace of the digital world, they are working hard to do so. Now it’s up to readers and book-lovers everywhere to embrace and support their local libraries as they continue to adapt to the public’s needs.