Bibliotheca is a company that targets the library market. They developed kiosks that allow patrons to bypass the staff and initiate self-checkout via the RFID and barcode scanners. This market is fairly competitive and they were looking for an edge. The 3M Cloud Library service was sold in 2015 to One Equity Partners, a division of JP Morgan Chase, which incendently owns Bibliotheca. The two companies became one later that year and are slowly starting to be a rising force in the digital library arena.
3M initially launched in 2011 and for a time they were attending all of the American Library Association events and trying to sway branches to use their digital ecosystem. They also had primitive kiosks that were a supplement to their business, which was useful for libraries that really had no interest in a digital collection, but wanted modern self-checkout tools.
Obviously 3M is a really large company and they have their hands in tape and medical equipment, libraries is just something that never really fell into their business scope. They never saw the financial returns they thought they would see, they honestly felt like they could become the dominant player in North America and put Overdrive out of business. This never occurred and the same year 3M decided to wash their hands clean of the whole library unit, Overdrive was sold to Rakuten and became the leading digital provider.
Things went quiet for the next year at Bibliotheca. They had to figure out how they were going to effectively merge the two businesses effectively. The first step was to bring over almost the entire workforce from the old 3M unit to a new office in Saint Paul Minnesota and get everyone together. The next step was to synergize the sales force for the kiosk and the digital business. These people had to share rolodexes, so kiosk customers would be pitched on a audiobook and ebook collection and existing digital customers were pitched kiosks.
Bibliotheca really started to hit their stride in the past 14 months. The Cloud Library currently powers the collections of over 3,000 libraries in Australia, Canada and the United States. They have 60,000 audiobooks in their system and hundreds of thousands of ebooks from major publishers. Libraries can purchase the titles individually or employ the cost per circ system. Hoopla only uses the cost per circ system and Overdrives new cost per circ infrastructure is new and unproven. Many libraries have told me that they have to add each title individually, with circ, which is too time consuming.
Patrons are finding reading and listening is super accessible with their smartphone, tablet, or internet browser. There are Cloud Library apps for Android and iOS, which are regularly updated. People who own an e-reader can also download the books to their MAC or PC and sideload into their device via Adobe Digital Editions. It would be nice if Bibliotheca would try and iron out a deal with an established e-reader brand and have their infrastructure bundled right on the device. This would similar to Kindles in the United States having Overdrive ebooks synced through Whispernet or Overdrive being …
Source: Good eReader – “The Bibliotheca Cloud Library is on the rise“