By Pat Coryell
As the Vice President and Publisher over GVRL, I focus my time immersed in market research, customer feedback, and user testing data to best understand the gaps and pain points in today’s eBook landscape, as well as identify the gains Gale might deliver to our library customers and users.
I’m often in problem-solving mode, as we and our customers across academic, public, and school libraries, take on the many challenges involved with shifting to meet evolving user needs brought about by changes in student/community demographics, differentiated learning styles, and the introduction of new technologies.
It was within this Ms. Fix-It frame-of-mind that I started to read “What I Want from Library Ebooks,” an opinion piece which was recently posted on Library Journal.
The article, written by Wayne Bivens-Tatum, reads as a wish list for what he needs in a platform that fully supports his shift from print to digital. And while he’s addressing an academic library audience specifically, many of his expressed desires would easily translate to public and school libraries as well.
To recap, here are the features/functions that in the author’s opinion, are lacking in the eBook landscape:
- Unlimited Access
- DRM-Free Downloads
- Interlibrary Loan
- Individual Title Purchase Options
- Reasonable Prices
By way of the comments, readers volunteer a few more criteria like bundling with print, flexible purchase models, chapter-level metadata, and integration with discovery systems.
My mood quickly shifted from problem-solving to problem: solved! I have great news for you Mr. Bivens-Tatum—the platform you seek is GVRL. GVRL resolves all but one (no ILL) of these pain points and more, giving you, as you request, the same benefits of print books plus the benefits of eBooks.
Going point-by-point, GVRL offers:
- Limitless AND Anonymous Access. Unlimited simultaneous access is available to users 24/7 from any internet-connected device. Users are typically authenticated by IP only, so no named-user sign in is required.
- No DRM Restrictions. DRM-free PDFs are also available to download without restriction, to enable users to easily save content to for offline reading.
- Individual/Flexible Purchase Options. There are currently more than 17,000 eBooks available on the GVRL platform from Gale and 120+ publishing partners, including both of those mentioned in the article, Springer and Oxford University Press. Titles are available for purchase individually, as small collections/bundles, or as part of a usage-driven model, where you’re able to lease a full catalog of current titles, and buy only those which were accessed the most.
- Reasonable Prices: With so many titles to choose from across all of today’s leading research publishers, you’ll be able to find the content you need at the price you require and because you can buy à la carte, you can acquire as many or as few titles as your users demand. Volume discounts are also available. And for Gale titles, buying an eBook copy automatically qualifies you for 75% savings off the print edition.
- Indexing at the Title, Chapter AND Article Level. One of the more unique features of GVRL is that all content is available in both HTML and PDF format, and is manually indexed down to the article-level so that we’re able to deliver the most comprehensive search results to the user.
- Access via Discovery Services. GVRL titles are findable via all discovery services, including Ebrary and Ebscohost. MARC records are available to add to your catalog to increase student awareness and use. Beyond that, Gale’s proprietary InterLink technology increases discovery by connecting your InfoTrac periodical resources, like Academic OneFile, directly into your eBook holdings.
Beyond these, user tools like the ability to browse titles cover-to-cover, highlight, annotate and cite content easily within the research workflow, hear articles read aloud, and translate both the interface and content into dozens of other languages, GVRL easily delivers the best of both worlds—the ease-of-use of print with the bells and whistles of digital.
This is certainly not to say our work here is done—additional innovations and enhancements, like smartphone compatibility, are coming to GVRL in 2015. (Currently optimized for desktop and tablet viewing.)
About the Author
As a VP and Publisher at Gale, Pat Coryell leads new title growth on GVRL through proprietary publishing and third-party partnerships, develops fresh new research solutions, and works to tie our products more deeply to user needs and outcomes in the classroom. Pat is an industry leader in academic and educational publishing, having developed a wide range of college-level, K-16, and ELT solutions across all disciplines at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Cambridge University Press prior to joining Gale in July 2014. Pat holds an MA in English and American Literature from Pennsylvania State University.