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DCL and IPG: Partners in eContent

December 5, 2011

Douglas County Libraries (DCL) and Independent Publishers Group (IPG) have entered into an agreement allowing for library purchase of IPG’s eBooks, effectively replicating the model by which libraries purchase print materials and applying it to electronic content. Prior to such innovative partnerships, libraries could only license eBooks, not purchase them outright. “These are times of great change in publishing,” said Jamie LaRue, director of Douglas County Libraries. “With library ownership of eBooks, we can integrate them more seamlessly into our collections, and customize those collections to our communities and to our patrons’ needs.”

The public-private business partnership embodies the library’s bold approach to improving access for library patrons while growing a new market for publishers through cooperative purchasing and joint promotion. While the library is committed to purchasing one additional copy for every four holds (individuals waiting for content to become available for borrowing), it will also provide users links to make immediate purchases of their own, benefitting both users and publishers.

“IPG shares a lot in common with the library market. We already invest a lot of resources in support of libraries so it only makes sense to support their objective to transform their services to include more e-content to meet the digital interests of their patrons,” says Paul Murphy, Vice President of Academic and Digital Markets at IPG. “With our vast eBook collection, we can provide new and exciting content for a library system like Douglas County.”

“We’re one of the first public libraries in the country to manage its own eContent,” said LaRue. “Working directly with publishers, we’re leading both publishing and libraries into a sustainable business model for the future.”

Douglas County Libraries’ industry-standard platform (Adobe Content Server) enables it to integrate e-content with its catalog, providing a seamless experience for patrons that replicates the print check-out model. Library users may read eBooks through a browser on a private library-hosted cloud, or through any device capable of reading Digital Rights Management (DRM)-protected files.

The agreement with IPG, which includes all titles and genres from their various distribution arms, follows similar partnerships between Douglas County Libraries and the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, Gale/Cengage Learning, and Lerner Digital.

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