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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fund Code Default Settings Enhanced

Midwest Tape has enhanced the fund code default settings on the web, allowing for more customization of specific formats and categories.

Please note that if you’re currently happy with your fund code settings, there’s no need to do anything.

However, for those who would like to further define their default settings or simply view the improvements in specifications, they may do so by selecting “Settings” on the top navigation bar.

Click to view larger graphic.

Then select “Funds.”

Click to view larger graphic.

Upon choosing one of their funds, the edit screen will show more specific options for default settings. These enhanced default fund settings allow you to specify your criteria beyond format type.

Click to view larger graphic.

Questions? Contact Customer Service at 1.800.875.2785.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Midwest Tape offers valuable solutions for your workflow

Every library’s processes are structured differently. Therefore, Midwest Tape provides our customers with an experienced team of specialists eager to aid libraries in developing the best solutions to fit their specific workflows. From shrink wrap removal to full processing and cataloging, Midwest Tape helps libraries improve workflows and increase efficiencies, ensuring product gets on shelves faster.

Midwest Tape’s Workflow Solutions team offers services in processing, cataloging, and opening day collections development:

Our exclusive Variable Integrated Processing (VIP) program uses digital imaging technology to generate product artwork incorporating all of your labels, perfectly placed every time.

The VIP program offers libraries:
  • Specific customization
  • Branded and attractive appearance
  • Money-saving solutions for outsourced label costs (no stickers)
  • Perfect label placement every time
  • Theft deterrent
  • Versatility for changing needs
  • High quality digital images
Midwest Tape offers four types of MARC records to simplify workflows:
  • Vendor Records—suitable for initial cataloging and ordering
  • MARC on the Spot
  • Full Records
  • Customized Records
We can deliver the records via email, FTP, or direct download from our website.

Opening Day Collections
Creating a comprehensive collection of audiovisual materials for a new library or branch can be a daunting task. To ensure libraries get started on the right foot, our collection development specialists work with selectors to build a list of the best materials for the new branch or library system.

We provide complete cataloging, processing, and delivery to fit each library’s specifications.

To learn more about Workflow Solutions, start the setup process, or view samples, download our no-obligation Workflow Solutions brochure. You can also learn more by clicking the “Workflow Solutions” link under “SERVICES” on our homepage, contacting Customer Service at 1.800.875.2785, or posting your questions here as comments.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Midwest Tape presents Playaway in HD

Playaway, an audiobook vendor that offers digital content pre-loaded on a portable audio player with universal headphone jack and battery included, is making fantastic innovations to their players. Starting in March, all titles from Playaway, including back-catalog titles, will feature the below changes.*

New Packaging
Durable, patron-friendly package features:
  • Smaller case size with rounded edges to save shelf-space
  • New security system, compatible with the DVD one-time locking system**
  • Molded compartments that eliminate the need for foam inserts
  • Battery storage outside the Playaway unit, which prolongs battery life
To further enhance patrons’ audio experience, Playaway has remastered all titles to feature high-definition, CD-quality sound.

Enhanced Functionality
Playaway has also developed some new features to improve performance:
  • Enhanced battery life increases playtime by fifty percent;
  • Two more narration speeds (now five speeds total) offers flexibility for all listeners; and
  • Locking (“hold”) mechanism keeps audio players from accidentally turning on in pockets or bags and draining batteries.

*Playaway will not apply different UPCs or ISBNs to products as these changes are to their audio players and not the titles themselves.
**One-time locking mechanisms are optional and are only included with the Playaway cases upon customer request. Please contact your Processing Sales representative for more information.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

OCLC Report Details the Economic Impact of Libraries

In a report originally released in 2003, OCLC, the world’s largest library cooperative¹, researched stacks of sources to develop “a snapshot of the economic impact of libraries worldwide,” and this report, entitled “Libraries: How They Stack Up,” remains as timely as ever.²

In this report, OCLC compiles data to highlight several enlightening economical comparisons between libraries and other major business sectors, professions, and destinations worldwide. This report discusses libraries as:
  • Economic engines
    • U.S. libraries purchase an estimated $14 billion ($31 billion for libraries worldwide) in goods and services annually
  • Logistics experts
    • U.S. libraries circulate 1,947,600,000 items a year
    • U.S. public library cardholders outnumber Amazon customers by almost 5 to 1 and circulates nearly 4 times more items daily than Amazon handles
  • Valued destinations
    • Five times more people visit U.S. public libraries each year than attend U.S. professional and college football, basketball, baseball, and hockey games combined
  • Global information suppliers
    • The estimated value of collections for the world’s one million libraries is $720 billion
  • Home to a vibrant and sizable profession
    • There are 690,000 librarians employed worldwide with 203,000 of them working in the U.S. ³
Check out the report in its entirety here. What do you think of this report? How do you feel the data has shifted since 2003? How does your library stack up in relation to the items presented?
Share your feedback here as comments.

³All bulleted items summarized from OCLC’s “Libraries: How They Stack Up” (2003).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Did You Know?

In 2009, Compact Discs accounted for 78.9% of all albums sold.
While media outlets focus primarily on the closing gap between physical album and digital music sales in terms of Overall Industry Revenue, the reality is that CDs remain the dominant product in the music industry. Check out the following information culled from data collected by Nielsen SoundScan, “an information system that tracks sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada” and distributed to Universal Music¹.

Key Industry Year-End Data for 2009
  • CDs accounted for 78.9% of all albums sold, while digital albums only made up 20.4% of sales.
  • Taylor Swift sold 5.4 million albums in 2009 with 89% of those albums being physical CDs and only 11% being digital.
  • Susan Boyle sold 3.2 million albums in 2009 with 97% of those albums being physical CDs and only 3% being digital.
  • Top 10 album sales for CDs was up 14.3% over 2008, meaning consumers are buying CDs and more of them.
Revenue in the digital avenue is track-driven, meaning consumers purchase and download single tracks for their music library. However, when it comes to obtaining entire albums, consumers are significantly more likely to purchase physical music albums in the form of CDs than download an entire album.

So what is it about CDs?
Why are consumers—and therefore your patrons—continuing to turn to CD albums over digital music albums?
  • CDs often provide lyrics, graphics, and supplemental content that digital tracks do not.
  • CDs cannot be lost in common hard drive crashes or data dumps like digital tracks.
    • They also serve as an invaluable backup for those who import their CDs into their computer music libraries.
  • While most cars nowadays have CD players, a smaller amount offer outlets for digital music players.
  • CDs on average cost less than downloading entire albums. 
    • For example, The New York Times reported in April of 2009 that the average cost of a music track download was increasing from $.99 to $1.29, which would therefore inflate the cost per album from an average of $9.99 to $13.99².
    • Additionally, in a recent post on, Joe Wilcox criticized the rising cost of downloads on iTunes, stating “recently, iTunes pricing has gotten wicked crazy…I got to taste the insanity early this afternoon, when finding a new album selling for about 8 bucks more for the iTunes digital download than the CD…”³.
  • Finally, digital music consists of compressed, encoded files. CDs feature uncompressed music at the highest quality. As Joe Wilcox explains:

    Apple isn't just charging more, it's doing so for a comparatively inferior product. Music fans can argue the merits of AmazonMP3's 256kbps MP3 encoding compared to Apple's 256kbps AAC. But there's no argument about lossless, uncompressed Compact Disc Digital Audio format and its 1,411kbps bitrate³.
So what does all this mean for you, the librarian?
While there’s no denying that digital music might be the way of the future, as proven above, there’s still quite a bit of shelf-life on physical product, especially music albums on CD. Midwest Tape Vice President Jeff Jankowski agrees completely, explaining that “libraries have a virtual monopoly as the only outlets that loan CDs and should protect this competitive advantage by maintaining quality collections.”