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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Features for

At Midwest Tape, we take pride in our time-saving, user-friendly website. Recently, we made some improvements to Below is a list of those changes followed by a detailed description of each.

April Website Updates
  • New Release Panel
  • Calendar Function Enhancement
  • Blu-ray and Playaway Format Separation
  • Revised Help Tab 

New Release Panel
We’ve redesigned the new release panel on our homepage, adding additional collections and giving it a cleaner, brighter look. You can now select which collections within each of our formats (including Blu-ray and Playaway) you would like to view.

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Upon hovering over a title within the new release panel, a textbox displaying product details will appear.  If you mouse away from that title, the textbox will disappear. This feature also exists on our Calendar tool.

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Calendar Function Enhancement
We’ve added a new tab along our top header labeled Calendar.

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Upon clicking this new tab, you’ll be directed to our enhanced Calendar (also accessible via Quick Links). The new Calendar has dropdown menus that allow you to sort by media format and collection.

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If you click the “Art View” option, the calendar will change from the list view display to an artwork display.

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You will now be able to view the artwork for products in order of street date.

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Blu-ray and Playaway Format Separation
Because our Playway and Blu-ray collections continue to grow, we have separated the two from the DVD and Audiobook formats.  You will now be able to view Playaway and Blu-ray titles via the new release and Quick Links panels on the homepage:

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Additionally, when you search for titles via SmartBrowse, Blu-ray and Playaway results will show up separate from DVDs and Audiobooks:

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Revised Help Tab
In order to make it more usable, we have redesigned the Help tab on the webpage. We’ve now reorganized items and made all links readily accessible:

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For questions regarding our latest website updates, please contact Customer Service at 1.800.875.2785. You can also post your questions and feedback here as comments.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Midwest Tape: Doing Our Part for a Greener Planet

While checking out an audiobook from my local library recently, I noticed that they were offering reusable bags for patrons to carry their checked-out materials. This nifty notion (as well as the release of Avatar on DVD) made me remember that Earth Day is quickly approaching.

In honor of this green holiday, I thought I’d chronicle some of Midwest Tape’s environmentally-friendly efforts:

Hundreds of thousands of media titles packaged in plastic cases move through our warehouse each year. We also repackage many titles onsite. Additionally, each year these products are shipped to us on thousands of wooden pallets. Over the past few years, Midwest Tape has implemented a variety of programs to reduce the environmental impact of all this packaging.

In 2009, Midwest Tape recycled 200,000 pounds of plastic DVD and CD cases and wooden pallets. We work with local companies that recycle the plastic into pellets that can then be molded into new plastic cases. Our own SoundSafe™ audiobook cases are made of 100% recyclable polypropylene.

Midwest Tape mails hundreds of thousands of pounds of Buyer’s Guides and weekly mailers each year. We work with our printer to continuously decrease the environmental impact of the paper and ink content of our catalogs. Our latest improvements have qualified us to display the coveted Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo.

Printed materials with an FSC Mixed Sources label support the development of responsible forest management worldwide. The wood comes from FSC-certified, well-managed forests, from FSC-controlled sources, or from recycled material.

In our warehouse operations, we use newspapers that are purchased as publishers’ excess to pack your orders. You may see newspapers from all around the country packed into your boxes to hold your orders securely.

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What environmentally-friendly efforts does your library make? Is your library doing anything in honor of Earth Day?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SmartBrowse: A Better Way to Search

Finding your favorite titles is easier at Midwest Tape thanks to SmartBrowse, a combination of the search and browse functions. When looking for a title on the Midwest Tape website, the browser searches not only the attributes of a product (i.e. titles, actors, artists, publishers), but also collection names, series, and categories. It’s even possible to find products by searching just partial title names and/or numbers of a stock number, OCLC, ISBN, or UPC.

To begin, just make sure the SmartBrowse option box is checked underneath the search bar in the upper right of the Midwest Tape homepage and enter a keyword. As always, by searching keywords noted throughout the DVD, CD, and Audiobook monthly buyer’s guide, finding popular titles is effortless.

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Once the results are compiled, they are grouped accordingly in a Search Summary, an expandable list sorted by exact matches, titles that contain the search word, categories, series, collections, and people.

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However, if you don’t find what you are looking for, clicking the return to original search button will route you back to the Search Summary page, where you can continue to surf through results. Because titles with similar characteristics are grouped together, you are sure to come across what your library is looking for, if not more.

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Want to learn more about SmartBrowsing? Watch our webinar.

Have you used SmartBrowse? How has it affected your searching experience?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Midwest Tape Presents a Free Webinar on Audiobooks

On Tuesday, April 20th, Inside Sales Representative Courtney Wolfe will lead a free webinar on audiobooks. The webinar runs in the afternoon from 1:30 to 2:30 EST, and you can register for the webinar by following this link.

Below is a brief description of this webinar:
Audiobooks: Why Pay More?     April 20, 2010     1:30-2:30 EST
Save 40-60% on audiobooks, already repackaged in a durable case, ready for circulation! Packed with current, bestselling titles from over 175 publishers, Midwest Tape's Customized Standing Order program provides a more well-rounded collection than any other vendor in the industry. This ultimately yields higher circulations for your library. Join us in this free webinar to learn more about the unique audiobook value we provide our libraries.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sayonara IE6: Reasons to Upgrade Your Browser

Last September, Midwest Tape updated its website to support new features that were incompatible with Internet Explorer 6 (Midwest Tape's Website Developing beyond the Capabilities of IE6). Apparently, we weren’t the only ones. As discontent surrounding IE6’s limited functionality grew within the online community, Google dealt a death blow earlier this year by announcing Google Apps would no longer support the aging web browser (​Modern browsers for modern applications). Along with Google, many other popular websites have dumped IE6 support, including YouTube and Facebook. Aten Design Group, a web development firm, even held a mock funeral for IE6 (IE6 Funeral).

The Importance of Updating
With the internet in a constant state of evolution, browsers and other web-related technologies needs constantly updated to ensure optimal functionality. Released in 2001, IE6 is an aging technological albatross of yesteryear that, in the same vein as VHS and cassette tapes, is simply no longer practical. Using outdated browsers, such as IE6, not only makes users susceptible to a slew of security vulnerabilities, but also limits them in regards to the most contemporary and interactive web features.

There are a plethora of browsers to choose from, and while everybody might have a preference, no single browser is “the best.” When choosing a browser, always do your research (2010 Internet Browser Software Review Product Comparisons). Although they all offer the same services, each browser is essentially different. Downloads and updates for the more popular browsers can be found here:

Internet Explorer:
Google Chrome:

What’s your take on IE6? What browser do you prefer?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Catalog-Collection Connection

How titles in our Monthly Buyer’s Guides relate to our online product collections

Most of our customers have at one time or another been faced with the same situation: While looking through our monthly Buyer’s Guides, they come across a page that has several titles that they’re interested in purchasing—but how can they find this same grouping of titles on the Midwest Tape website?

Fortunately for this inquisitive shopper, we’re constantly looking for ways to keep our Buyer’s Guides connected to our site. Users can find many of the pages in our Buyer’s Guide on our website as well, formulated into collections.

This week, News and Views paid a visit to the Midwest Tape Marketing Department and talked to the people that are responsible for the Buyer’s Guides to get a clearer picture of what monthly features from each of the Buyer’s Guides are also available as collections on our website and how those collections can benefit you.

(Note: All the bolded words are keywords users can search in our SmartBrowse to view specific collections.)