Saturday, August 27, 2011

E-Books - the decision has been made

Photo from kandinski's flickr photo stream, licensed under Creative Commons.

There may be a flurry of posts from me this week as I extend my thinking and knowledge in different ways. I will keep them short!

I have been seriously considering e-books over the past 12 months, in particular the platforms. I really did not want to shell out loads of money for Overdrive, but I thought I had no alternative. I explored and found all other products wanting when held up against it. So, decided I needed to go down that track. Tried to contact them, being in HK there was a time zone difference, so called at 4am my time to talk to someone, did not get to talk to anyone who was willing to talk, in a nut shell they were not interested in doing business in South East Asia - we got that message loud and clear. But things happen for a reason!

I kept exploring (and trying to contact Overdrive), and was looking at open source platforms, local Hong Kong created platforms when I chanced upon a tweet by @crgalvin CarmelG who mentioned Wheelers who are based in New Zealand.

I checked out their page, filled out the contact us form, someone wrote back to me pretty quickly, made an appointment to call me, and the next day we chatted for about 60 minutes about his product. He was knowledgeable, listened to my questions, helped me to understand some of the legal issues with ebooks, and although had not considered the international market as a potential market for their company, was willing to make adjustments to make it possible - and soon. Wow - customer service!

Wheelers is catering to the school library market, which means their product is affordable, they supply records through SCIS and the platform can be accessed through the library OPAC AND the website - hoorah! We can also add other documents to the platform such as student work, Gutenberg texts and other ebooks we purchase through non excrypted means (not amazon purchases). If we decide we do not want to use their platform any more, we still own the books, but we need to transfer them to another DRM platform to retain access. Wheelers has everything I was looking for in an ebook platform at an affordable price.

We also bought 10 Taiwanese made ebook readers (BenQ K60 NReader) in the past week to support the learning development team students and subscribed to Audible. I am excited, and really can't wait to move into this extra service for the library in our highly digitised school environment.

Today I am off to a Kevin Hennah workshop - so will probably post about that this week as well!

The learning never stops!


Elizabeth said...

Thanks so much for posting this. We are about to make a decision about ebooks at our international school too. I have budgeted money to buy something and I have to spend it soon so I will have to do some quick research on this company. Please share anything else you might find.

Tara said...


Another thanks from Bangkok. We are ripe for e-readers, and our new Kindles are flying off the shelves! Will investigate this further. :) (Tara from ISB)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dianne,
A timely post as we have also been considering ebooks and using a vendor such as Overdrive, Gale or someone else.
Maybe you have found the answer for us - especially if there is a lot of Australian and New Zealand content.
I will see you soon to chat some more. I am excited by your post!


Anonymous said...

Wheelers sounds like a great program! Could you give an update on how you're using and liking it? Thanks!
~Librarian in Rwanda

Anonymous said...

Yes we are using Wheeler's ePlatform in Australia and they have been fantastic, their reading apps for Android and Apple are better than Overdrive and their range of books seems to be 50% larger.