Promoting Library E-books

I read a very intriguing post in the ACRL TechConnect Blog on promoting library e-books: give e-books a physical presence by using dummy bookmarks much like the way dummy books replace physical books shelved elsewhere for whatever reason. Since online library collections are still largely invisible to users, the staff at Florida International University created plastic dummy bookmarks and dispersed them throughout the stacks in locations where the titles would have been shelved had they been physical books. Each bookmark was printed with the book cover’s image, title, author, and call number. A library user browsing the stacks can note titles that are available as e-books within each subject section.

You can brainstorm all sorts of ideas off this concept, as the comments following the ACRL post show. I especially like the idea of using QR codes on these bookmarks. Scanning one of these codes will take the user immediately to the online catalog page where the e-book can be checked out. I’d like to see a display of  print books that have matching e-books in our library and produce bookmarks containing QR codes that link to corresponding e-book records. Not only does this physical display create more awareness of the library’s e-book offerings and digital collection website, it also gives patrons easy and convenient access to these e-books via QR codes. Of course, you run into the problem of the e-book already being checked out because of the marketing. At least the online page will also offer the option of placing the e-book on hold. The premise is that once users get a chance to see how it all works, they will  be encouraged to use the e-book lending program.

Oh, and a cool note on the way I found the ACRL blog post – through Carnegie-Stout Public Library’s Pinterest board