The Digital Public Library of America

by Nancy Humphreys on May 25, 2011

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is asking developers to submit demos, code, and design ideas to help advance toward “the realization of a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all.”

The digital library movement

This is newest and most ambitious of many attempts to build a public digital library on the Internet. The steering committee of the DPLA contains leaders of several existing ebook projects. These include “the Internet Archive, Public.Resource.Org, the Hathi Trust, American Memory, and others, as well as the Europeana project and the national digital libraries in the Netherlands, Norway, and South Korea.”

The ebook distributor, OverDrive, provides libraries with global digital distribution of ebooks, audiobooks and more. In addition, The Open Library Project, offers 1,000,000 “World’s classic literature,” ebooks to readers. for free

DPLA’s press release just announced that “The DPLA represents the broadest coalition of stakeholders ever assembled who are dedicated to free and universal access to knowledge for all, and the Beta Sprint will help us kick off an 18-month program to construct, brick by digital brick, this beautiful new edifice.”

In case you’re taken aback by the promise of “free and universal access to knowledge” in the above paragraph, this has always been the dominant goal of libraries, even with regard to print books. It is the main reason public libraries exist. It is the reason why public libraries manage to reach 5 times as many customers (called “patrons”) as Amazon.com.

What DPLA’s mission means for you

DPLA’s new initiative means libraries (public and academic) intend to continue to compete with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Google to be readers’ one-stop shopping place for ebooks and audiobooks.

Why should you care? Because online library catalogs offer readers the best way to quickly identify books they want to read. No other provider of ebooks offers authors a comparable subject and keyword system to make their books so readily and easily available to readers.

As an author, the library market will be the best market for your book. It is where more readers will be able to find your book and recommend it to others. That’s the best kind of marketing for your book that money can’t buy!

Want to know more? My book Marketing Your Book to Libraries: An Insiders Guide for Authors is now finished. It will be offered for sale in early June. For information and to qualify for a pre-publication discount, sign up here!

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Marketing Your Book to Libraries Marketing Your Books to Libraries: An Insider's Guide for Authors by former librarian Nancy K. Humphreys includes: 
  • How to tell what kind of library to target
  • Types of librarians and books they order
  • Strategies to get past the "gatekeepers" who influence librarians
  • Right ways to approach librarians most likely to order your book

Learn more »


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