Thursday, June 23, 2005

Chicago and Buying Books

I am arrived in Chicago -- I can see the lake off to the left here on the 18th floor of the Sheraton. My taxi ride from O'Hare took longer than the flight from Columbus for two reasons. The traffic was very heavy--stop and go just about the whole way. I began thinking I'd need to use a credit card to pay because my cash supply was low--when, blink! The meter in the taxi went offline. Well, that's all good I thought...until the cab itself began coughing until it eventually had to pull over. Did I mention it's 96F here?

Luckily the fraternity (let's face it, most cab drivers are men) pulled through and as soon as my beleaguered cabbie pulled over and waved his arm, a cab from another company magically appeared. I transferred and, voila, I am here.

But, the low cash....I realized I did not bring my bank card and I now have four bucks (I gave the first cabbie a bunch of dollars that might have approximated the fare). And I discover that neither my own personal Amex card nor my corporate Amex card do cash advances. Swell.

So I call my boss, Cathy De Rosa, and ask her to spot me some cash which she agrees to after she stops laughing. It's all good again.

OK, what about the books. In my last blog about OCLC Beta, I said we'd be announcing another pilot....got the terminology wrong. This is a new feature in Open WorldCat.

Well, in a press release today, OCLC announced that that the newest feature in Open WorldCat will allow users an option to buy books through Baker & Taylor. This will be available soon through the Open WorldCat program and will allow searchers in the United States to buy books online that they find using Open WorldCat through Baker & Taylor.

Here's the really cool part, IMO. OCLC will pursue the best prices and discounts available for people wanting to buy content who will identify their library as part of the transaction. A portion of the proceeds from the book sales will be shared with the named libraries through credits on their OCLC invoices. Our press release says that we hope to expand this feature to libraries outside the United States, to other content formats and to additional vendors in the future.

Everyone wins. We are all part of a big content ocean and library content has to be where other content is, not sequestered away. Sometimes people will buy content, sometimes they'll borrow it...it's their choice, not ours.

1 comment:

Roy Tennant said...

Alane,
I'm just across the river from you at the Hyatt and can spot you some cash too (grin). I love the way you make yourself so "human" by admitting foibles that others would prefer not to mention. Anyway, I'm glad to hear about the Open WorldCat innovation, and also wanted to mention Steve Coffman's latest great idea: 1st Reads. It also builds on the desire of some people to buy books, but in this case the book becomes part of the library collection and the person who bought it automatically gets it first. This is just the kind of innovative confluence of technology, human nature, and library need that we should have more of! Congratulations to both OCLC and LSSI for doing what needs to be done.