How Google and Apple can make a lot more money

I’ve been working on a couple of projects lately and have come up against some frustrations.  Some of this is a bit of a rehashing of things, but I haven’t posted in a while, so here goes.

Ebooks.  There’s still no easy way for a library to process these.  As I’ve vented about before, we’re stuck with choosing between systems from library vendors (eg Follett) that work well in terms of the back of house library processing stuff but aren’t really intuitive or well designed for our users or systems from non library vendors that are intuitive (eg iTunes) but that aren’t set up well to work with a library loan system.  I actually had a chance to share this with a rep from Apple Japan last week, and we’ve got visitors coming from their big house in California next week that will hear the same thing from me.  Being non-library people though, I’m not sure if they fully understand our unique constraints and how we’re different from individual users.  Maybe they need to hire a library consultant…

My other problem of late concerns databases.   I think we have some great ones in terms of content, but again, they aren’t always the most user friendly.  As a result, we have some teachers recommending Google Scholar to their students even though we are paying a lot of money for access to a bunch of other databases (EBSCO, Questia, Newsbank, BrainPOP).  While I’d obviously prefer that we use the products we’re currently paying for, I fully understand why our users would gravitate towards Google Scholar – it’s an interface that they’re already used to, and therefore much less intimidating.  Google just needs to figure out a way to harness this potential revenue stream.  If it meant being able to increase their content, they should find a way to charge our library each time one of our students accesses one of their articles and I’d gladly pay the fee.

Google and Apple, I’ll kindly accept a 10% cut in the royalties for these ideas.  Given the markets of late though, my preferred form of payment will be in pelts or furs or some sort of payment that I can put in a coffee can and bury out in the woods.

6 thoughts on “How Google and Apple can make a lot more money

  1. I totally relate and agree with all you just wrote about. There’s one more grief. We added a bunch of mp3 player audio books. Well, guess how they came? In a huge VHS type container with a set of batteries, earphones, and the player all smooshed into a piece of foam! I couldn’t believe the waste in space. We’ll have to probably just inventory the player itself at some point.

    Right when we got rid of our space consuming VHS collection, it has been replaced by a new technology. Kind of makes me laugh–but not really.

    (We don’t have a lot of space to spare in our library at ASB.)

    By the way, I really like your new blog name!



  2. Vexed issue huh, Brian. I like your ideas. I’m happy to team up with you and apple and google to come up with a suitable solution. I’m convinced that’s what they need – people with library minds working for them!

    Jenny Luca.


  3. We only have EBSCO so far, but I feel that its content is not so relevant for our students. A lot of the content is beyond their knowledge. So I would like to get something useful that is also a bit easier. (Isn’t the content that Google Scholar provides also a bit too scholarly?)

    If you would recommend any of the other databases you subscribe to, which one would that be?


  4. I’ve used some of Thomson Gale’s databases, with similar results. Questia seems to be really good for IB level stuff. If you’re looking for something for younger students, BrainPOP is quite good, although I find that the content can be a little too focused.


  5. Pingback: Databases | From the librarian

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