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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UltraViolet Aims to Bring Visual Media to the Cloud

Watching a movie at home used to be a simple proposition: You’d go out to buy or rent the movie, then come home and pop it in your VCR or DVD player. Now, although options for buying or renting movies have exploded, being able to watch them can be more problematic. If it’s a physical format (DVD or Blu-ray), do you have the right hardware? If you’re watching via PC or portable device, do you have the right software or app? If you select something for one device, is it compatible with another?

Many major movie studios and content distributors have recognized this problem and have banded together to create a solution.

Introducing UltraViolet
UltraViolet is a cloud-based system that will allow consumers, once they have purchased or rented a title, to access it via whatever device they choose. Rather than purchasing a title in a specific format, UltraViolet instead lets viewers purchase the rights to the title, which can then be viewed in whatever format is appropriate for a particular device.1 For example, under the current system, a consumer who purchases a title for streaming to their HDTV would be unable to watch that same title on their phone or tablet while they’re on the go, because the portable device is incompatible with the HD format. Or, if they purchase a DVD or Blu-ray, they would be unable to watch it on any device without the right optical drive. The UltraViolet system aims to eliminate such distinctions.

UltraViolet is a collaborative effort between movie and television studios, content distributors, hardware manufacturers, and Internet service providers, a consortium calling itself the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE). DECE includes such notable companies as Netflix, Best Buy, Microsoft, Sony, and the RIAA.2 The consortium does not currently include Disney (the only major movie studio not involved) or Apple (which is planning a similar service of its own). Unlike a subscription service, like Netflix, an UltraViolet account is free; account holders will pay for each individual purchase or rental.3

The benefits of such a system are obvious for the consumer, and the companies involved are hoping it will revive (like Blu-ray) the home entertainment market. However, there are some drawbacks or possible stumbling blocks involved as well. The non-involvement of Disney and Apple is just one of those. Another is that there is no provision for including content consumers have already purchased.4 Also, the UltraViolet system currently calls for a cap of six users, twelve devices, and three simultaneous streams per account, which may create issues for some households.5 The system is also dependent upon Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, which has not been a successful strategy for other media formats.6 And, of course, if the system fails and is eventually abandoned, consumers will lose any purchases for which they don’t have a hard copy.

Cloudy Future
UltraViolet-compatible discs and apps are slated to launch this fall in the U.S.7 Until it actually happens, it’s difficult to know how successful it will be or if it will have the desired effect on the home entertainment market. As with other innovations in streaming and subscription services, it stands to reason that it will not threaten patrons’ interest in DVDs and Blu-rays at their local libraries for quite some time, if at all.

Is this the first you’ve heard of the UltraViolet system? If not, what have you heard or read? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Hot This Week: June 27

New releases shake up the DVD, CD, and Fiction lists; however, the Nonfiction chart remains relatively unchanged.

  1. Battle: Los Angeles
  2. True Grit
  3. Just Go With It
  4. Hall Pass
  5. Red Riding Hood
  6. I Am Number Four
  7. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
  8. Sanctum
  9. Gnomeo & Juliet
  10. Drive Angry
  1. Bad Meets Evil, Hell: The Sequel (EP)
  2. Jackie Evancho, Dream with Me
  3. Adele, 21
  4. Lady Gaga, Born This Way
  5. Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party
  6. Owl City, All Things Bright and Beautiful
  7. Barry Manilow, 15 Minutes: Fame...Can You Take It?
  8. Ledisi, Pieces of Me
  9. Brad Paisley,This is Country Music
  10. The Book Of Mormon (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Fiction Books
  1. Against All Enemies, Tom Clancy
  2. One Summer, David Baldacci
  3. State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
  4. Folly Beach, Dorothea Benton Frank
  5. Carte Blanche, Jeffery Deaver
  6. The Kingdom, Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood
  7. Sisterhood Everlasting, Ann Brashares
  8. Hit List, Laurell K. Hamilton
  9. 10th Anniversary, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  10. Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris
Nonfiction Books
  1. The Greater Journey, David McCullough
  2. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  3. In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson
  4. Demonic, Ann Coulter
  5. Seal Team Six, Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin
  6. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  7. Through My Eyes, Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker
  8. Those Guys Have All the Fun, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
  9. Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me, Chelsea Handler
  10. Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, Steven Tyler

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

3D Still Looking for a Foothold in the Home

In March we posted a report that touched on the future of 3D in home theater technology. That article suggested that 3D would not be a mainstay in the home until 2014 at the earliest. Since then, the news hasn’t been fantastic for proponents of 3D, with sales of 3D televisions and media players falling short of expectations.1 However, a number of recent innovations and announcements have surfaced that aim to jumpstart the burgeoning 3D market

Improving Technology
One of the roadblocks to widespread adoption of 3D is the glasses that are required to make the three-dimensional illusion possible. In general, these glasses have worked in part by reducing the resolution of the images seen by the viewer. In a viewing culture where high-definition images have recently become the norm, this resolution reduction was a clear step backwards, no matter what effect it produced. However, Samsung has recently partnered with RealD, a leading manufacturer of 3D technology, on an “active technology” pairing of displays and glasses that provides the 3D effect in full high-definition.2 These displays are expected to enter the market early in 2012.

Vizio, on the other hand, is putting its effort into “passive” 3D technology that puts the burden of producing the 3D effect on the television more than the glasses.3 Active technology, such as the Samsung/RealD glasses mentioned above, require batteries or some other type of power source, making them bulky and inconvenient. The passive glasses do suffer from the reduced resolution, but are more convenient to wear and generally less expensive to purchase.

More Content
Another complaint of those shunning home 3D technology is the lack of content available for the format. This is something that content providers are working to correct. Discover, Sony, and IMAX, for example, recently launched a channel (3Net) that offers 3D programming exclusively.4 ESPN also offers a channel showing some sporting events in 3D. Despite the increased costs associated with producing content in 3D, filmmakers—particularly documentary filmmakers—are embracing the format.5

Sony, a longtime leader in home entertainment technology, is investing in the 3D concept on many different levels. Along with their participation in 3Net, plus their production of 3D televisions and Blu-ray players, they also plan to launch a line of 3D-capable still and video cameras, allowing consumers to create their own 3D content.6

The driving force that has been most successful in getting 3D into homes so far is the availability of 3D films on Blu-ray. Fortunately for 3D fans, films in this format show no signs of slowing down. The summer blockbuster season will certainly provide plenty of content in the coming months, with Cars 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Captain America being just a few of the titles on their way into theaters.7 As these and other upcoming films expand the library of 3D Blu-ray titles, consumer interest will increase. (And if you’re really into 3D film technology, check out this conversation between film giants Michael Bay and James Cameron on the process of filming in 3D.)

On the Horizon
The main issue for 3D technology manufacturers and content providers is getting people past their preconceived notions of cost and inconveniences to try out the 3D experience for themselves. Studies show that once consumers have the technology in their homes, they absolutely love it.8 This is good news for the 3D market: 3DTV sales are expected to grow 500% this year.9 While it will still take several years for it to become a mainstream technology, libraries can expect growing patron demand for 3D media as the format becomes more common.

Have your patrons started looking for 3D Blu-rays? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Hot This Week: June 20

Oscar contender, True Grit, tops the DVD chart, and while nothing seems able to dethrone Adele, the same can't be said for Charlaine Harris, who tumbles several spots on the Fiction list. In Nonfiction, Ann Coulter looks to oust David McCullough from first place.

  1. True Grit
  2. Just Go With It
  3. I Am Number Four
  4. Drive Angry
  5. Sanctum
  6. Gnomeo & Juliet
  7. The Mechanic
  8. The Rite
  9. No Strings Attached
  10. The Roommate
  1. Adele, 21
  2. Lady Gaga, Born This Way
  3. The Book Of Mormon (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
  4. Tech N9ne, All 6's & 7's
  5. Ronnie Dunn, Ronnie Dunn
  6. All Time Low, Dirty Work
  7. Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party
  8. Brad Paisley, This is Country Music 
  9. Now That's What I Call Music 38
  10. Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys
Fiction Books
  1. Hit List, Laurell K. Hamilton
  2. The Kingdom, Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood
  3. State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
  4. Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris 
  5. Summer Rental, Mary Kay Andrews
  6. Dreams of Joy, Lisa See
  7. 10th Anniversary, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  8. Buried Prey, John Sandford 
  9. The Jefferson Key, Steve Berry
  10. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
Nonfiction Books
  1. The Greater Journey, David McCullough
  2. Demonic, Ann Coulter
  3. In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson 
  4. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  5. Through My Eyes, Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker
  6. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  7. Those Guys Have All the Fun, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
  8. Seal Team Six, Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin 
  9. Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, Steven Tyler
  10. Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me, Chelsea Handler

Friday, June 17, 2011

Media for Father's Day

In May, I mentioned that Toledo Public Library had listed several recommended DVDs for mothers on their blog, and I tacked on some recommended audiobooks and CDs to their list in a News & Views Mother’s Day post. Well, Sunday is Father’s Day, and Toledo did a post on some great (and not so great) fathers in film. Here’s their list of recommended dad DVDs:

Good Dads
Father of the Bride
Mr. Mom
Pursuit of Happyness
To Kill A Mockingbird

Bad Dads
The Shining
Star Wars: A New Hope
Meet The Parents

So, I once again ask, what about CDs and audiobooks? Here are Midwest Tape’s Father’s Day recommendations:

Harry Chapin, Cat’s in the Cradle and Other Hits
Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
Bob Seger, Greatest Hits 2
Steve Miller Band, Let Your Hair Down
Luther Vandross, The Ultimate Luther Vandross
Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis, Here We Go Again
Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What
Steve Martin, Rare Bird Alert
My Morning Jacket, Circuital
Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More

The Fifth Witness, Michael Connelly
Parents Behaving Badly, Scott Gummer
Life, Keith Richards
The Pale King, David Foster Wallace
A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
Robopocalypse, Daniel H. Wilson
The 4-Hour Body, Timothy Ferriss
War, Sebastian Junger
The Heart and the Fist, Eric Greitens
Matterhorn, Karl Marlantes

What are your plans for Father’s Day? What CDs, DVDs, or audiobooks do you recommend for dads?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Report Charts Blu-ray’s Five-Year Performance

In 2009, News and Views discussed the Blu-ray format, defining it and offerings its pros and cons in comparison to DVD. In early 2011, we offered an update, detailing why Blu-ray is such an awesome format—unmatched audio and visual quality, special content and bonus features, internet connectivity, and lowering cost—and noting the format’s growing market share.

Now, five years after Blu-ray’s inception, Home Media Magazine has produced a supplemental booklet focused entirely on Blu-ray, entitled “Blu-ray Disc: 5 Years of Sustained Growth and a Home Entertainment Platform for the Future.” Statistical highlights from the report include:

  • Since the format’s induction, the following have been produced:
    • 1.4 billion Blu-ray Discs
    • 50 million Blu-ray players and recorders
    • 41 million PS3 devices
    • 188 million Blu-ray recordable/rewritable discs
    • 25 million Blu-ray PC readers/writers
  • Avatar leads the pack in Blu-ray units sold: 1.5 million copies sold in its first day of release; 4.8 billion units sold in total in the U.S. and 8.4 billion units sold in total worldwide
2010 & 2011 Performance Results
  • During the first quarter of 2011:
    • The average cost of a Blu-ray title dropped 5.5% from a year ago
    • Sales increased 10% over 2010’s first quarter
  • For all of 2010, Blu-ray disc sales were up 68% over 2009, contributing $1.8 billion in revenue with 11.25 million Blu-ray devices sold for the year
  • Production of Blu-ray Disc movies and TV programming exceeded 400 million units in 2010, almost a 60% increase over the previous year
  • About 2.4 million Blu-ray players were sold in the U.S. through September 2010, up 96% from the same period in 2009
    • About 10% of domestic homes now have a player
  • 2386 new Blu-ray releases are projected for 2011, a year-over-year gain of 72.3%
Blu-ray 3D
  • Among all its innovations, Blu-ray 3D is the most recent and impressive:
    • Consumers with 3DTVs rated feature films on Blu-ray Disc their favorite 3D programming
    • Worldwide 3DTV units will top 300 million by 2015
    • 80 3D Blu-rays either available or announced in the U.S.
    • 15% of Blu-ray discs players sold during the 2010 Black Friday weekend were 3D-capable
  • Blu-ray will account for 1/3 of total international spending (over $10 billion) on packaged media by 2014, according to IHS Screen Digest estimates
  • Global Blu-ray disc sales will hit 412 million units in 2013, according to estimates from the Japan Recording-Media Industries Association
  • HIS Screen Digest expects:
    • 2011—3D Blu-ray spending to grow 533% over 2010 with $214 million in sales and 7.5 millions discs sold
    • 2014—$909 million in sales; 41 millions discs sold
  • 3D Blu-ray:
    • Sales will reach $909 million by 2014, according to HIS
    • By the end of 2011, 3D Blu-ray players will account for more than a quarter of all Blu-ray players in the U.S. market
    • 40% of home in the U.S., Europe, and Japan will have a 3D Blu-ray player, recorder, or home theater by 2014
The report also provides a substantial definition of Blu-ray, charts the technology as well as the brand’s history, and provides an international perspective. I would highly recommend reading the report in its entirety to learn Blu-ray’s short, yet captivating story.

What do you think of the Blu-ray brand? Does this overwhelmingly positive report match the feedback you’re receiving from patrons? How is Blu-ray performing in your library?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hot This Week: June 13

The third season of True Blood joins the DVD list. Meanwhile, Adele and Gaga hold strong to CDs' top seeds and the sequel to Shanghai Girls debuts at fiction's top spot.

  1. I Am Number Four
  2. The Mechanic
  3. Drive Angry
  4. Gnomeo & Juliet
  5. The Roommate
  6. No Strings Attached
  7. The Rite
  8. The Dilemma
  9. The Green Hornet
  10. True Blood: The Complete Third Season
  1. Lady Gaga, Born This Way
  2. Adele, 21
  3. Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys
  4. Eddie Vedder, Ukulele Songs
  5. My Morning Jacket, Circuital
  6. Brad Paisley, This is Country Music 
  7. Now That's What I Call Music 38
  8. Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party
  9. Flogging Molly, Speed of Darkness
  10. Glee, The Music: Season 2, Volume 6 (Soundtrack)
Fiction Books
  1. Dreams of Joy, Lisa See
  2. Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris 
  3. 10th Anniversary, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  4. Buried Prey, John Sandford 
  5. The Jefferson Key, Steve Berry
  6. The Sixth Man, David Baldacci
  7. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
  8. The Land of Painted Caves, Jean M. Auel
  9. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh
  10. Trader of Secrets, Steve Martini
Nonfiction Books
  1. The Greater Journey, David McCullough
  2. In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson 
  3. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  4. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  5. Those Guys Have All the Fun, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
  6. Through My Eyes, Tim Tebow
  7. Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me, Chelsea Handler
  8. Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, Steven Tyler
  9. Seal Team Six, Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin 
  10. Area 51, Annie Jacobsen

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Netflix Dominates Streaming Video Options

Since we last reported on Netflix less than a year ago, that company’s business model has changed somewhat. While they do still offer DVDs (and Blu-rays) through the mail, as they did from the start, they have followed the general trend by supplementing those offerings with an array of movies and television shows available for streaming via the Internet.

Successful Strategy
Adding the streaming option has paid off for Netflix in terms of adding subscribers. More than 7.7 million new accounts were created in 2010, bringing their subscriber base to more than 20 million.1 What’s more, that number is projected to increase to more than 50 million by 2013.2 Netflix now takes up more bandwidth in North America than any other source.3

Adding Content
Of course, the streaming service alone doesn’t draw subscribers. Viewers are looking for quality content, and not everything that is available through Netflix’s DVD delivery service is automatically available for streaming. However, Netflix is signing deals with various entertainment studios and TV networks for the rights to stream their programming. For instance, it was recently announced that Miramax films—including such contemporary classics as Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, and The Piano—will be available beginning this month.4 On the television front, they agreed in April with Fox to bring such popular shows as Glee and Ally McBeal to their subscribers.5 The Wonder Years is also listed as being part of that deal; if they succeed in adding that to their selection, it would be the only method to view the classic television show outside of syndication, as it has never been offered on DVD, despite clamor from its fans.

In some respects, though, Netflix is a victim of its own success. Premium cable channels such as HBO and Showtime see Netflix’s streaming service as a competitor, and thus withhold their programming.6 So don’t look for shows like Dexter (Showtime) or True Blood (HBO) to stream from Netflix anytime soon—although you can still get the DVDs delivered.

Competition on the Horizon
While some channels view Netflix as a competitor and others see them as a new outlet for syndication, there is no doubt that rivals will rise up to challenge Netflix’s dominance in the arena of streaming media. A number of well-known companies, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Amazon, are considering subscription streaming services in addition to their current pay-per-view offerings.7 Still, with such a head start, it will be difficult for anyone to unseat Netflix from their lofty perch.

Expanding Into New Markets
Even if competitors do spring up to eat into Netflix’s subscriber base, Netflix is already looking to maintain its edge by expanding into markets outside the United States. They launched a streaming-only service in Canada in September of last year, and 8% of Canadian households have already signed up (by comparison, it took five years to reach that milestone in the U.S.).2 This is in spite of a more limited inventory than is available in the States as well as more aggressive bandwidth caps imposed by Canadian Internet service providers.8

Currently, Netflix is negotiating for rights to begin streaming some content in Latin America.9 If successful, that would become their third market. While nothing concrete has been announced beyond that, CEO Reed Hastings has hinted at possible locations such as Brazil, India, Australia, and Turkey.

What Does This Mean for Libraries?
In the report we cited in August, libraries were slightly outpacing Netflix for the number of DVDs loaned. While updated figures are not yet available, it stands to reason that, with their emphasis shifting from DVD to streaming media, Netflix has lost some ground to libraries in terms of physical DVD lending.

While the convenience of the streaming option may keep some patrons glued to their Internet, it is important to remember that the number of titles Netflix offers for streaming, while expanding, is still quite limited. Due to rights issues, most hot new titles just arriving on DVD from theaters will not be available for streaming. Additionally, some Netflix subscribers have been bemoaning that company’s recent neglect of older titles coming to DVD for the first time.10 Thus, by maintaining robust collections in these areas, libraries can continue to lure patrons by offering selections that viewers want to see but can’t find via other outlets.

Furthermore, streaming video at its highest quality is a technology-intensive venture. While it’s becoming more common, at this point many Americans simply don’t have the broadband capacity or the necessary equipment to enjoy streaming video without suffering a reduction in picture quality or occasional pauses for the services to buffer. On the flip side, 90 million American households do contain a DVD player (and 27.5 million contain a Blu-ray player).11 For this reason, along with a slew of others, consumers still prefer DVD and Blu-ray over streaming video (as we reported last month). With all this in mind, it seems likely that patrons will be turning to libraries to fulfill their DVD needs for the foreseeable future.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It’s Time for ALA!

Midwest Tape is exhibiting at ALA in New Orleans, and this year, we’re all about harmony. We want to show you not only all we can do to provide you the best in library services and media, but also how we can work seamlessly with your library to ensure easy ordering, shelving, and circulating.

Happy libraries mean happy patrons, and we’re ready to let the good times roll—or as they say in N'awlins: Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Hope to see you there!
Midwest Tape, Booth #2750
American Library Association Annual Conference and Exhibit
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
June 23–28, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hot This Week: June 6

The story of ESPN bumps Handler and Fey down the nonfiction list, while Sookie-fans keep Dead Reckoning at the top of the fiction list. Meanwhile, the DVD and CD charts both see shake ups.

  1. I Am Number Four
  2. The Mechanic
  3. Gnomeo & Juliet
  4. No Strings Attached
  5. The Roommate 
  6. The Rite
  7. The Dilemma
  8. The Green Hornet
  9. Little Fockers
  10. Gulliver's Travels
  1. Lady Gaga, Born This Way
  2. Brad Paisley, This is Country Music 
  3. Adele, 21
  4. Glee, The Music: Season 2, Volume 6 (Soundtrack)
  5. Maybach Music Group Presents: Self Made: Vol. I
  6. Now That's What I Call Music 38
  7. New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, NKOTBSB
  8. Foster the People, Torches
  9. Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party
  10. Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
Fiction Books
  1. Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris 
  2. 10th Anniversary, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  3. Conviction, Aaron Allston
  4. Buried Prey, John Sandford 
  5. The Jefferson Key, Steve Berry
  6. The Sixth Man, David Baldacci
  7. The Land of Painted Caves, Jean M. Auel
  8. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
  9. The Snowman, Jo Nesbo
  10. The Final Storm, Jeff Shaara
Nonfiction Books
  1. Those Guys Have All the Fun, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
  2. In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson 
  3. The Greater Journey, David McCullough
  4. Bossypants, Tina Fey
  5. Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me, Chelsea Handler
  6. Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, Steven Tyler
  7. Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand
  8. Seal Team Six, Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin 
  9. Area 51, Annie Jacobsen
  10. The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Get Caught Listening During Audiobook Month

June is Audiobook Month! The Audio Publishers Association has planned the “Get Caught Listening” campaign, a social media blitz promoted by popular authors like James Patterson, David Baldacci, and Meg Cabot.1 The aim of the campaign is to make consumers (such as library patrons) more aware of the wealth of great titles that are available on audiobook.

In honor of Audiobook Month and to get caught up in the Get Caught Listening spirit, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the world of audiobooks.

School’s Out for Summer
A few weeks ago, we discussed ways in which you and your patrons can use audiobooks to enhance a summer vacation. Now that summer is upon us, it’s the perfect time to promote your audiobook collection. We’ve put together a collection of great summer listens for kids. In addition, summer is blockbuster season for movies; check out our June Audiobook Buyer’s Guide for audiobook tie-ins for some of this summer’s most anticipated films.

The Audies
The Audie competition is “the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.”2 The awards are handed out each year in May, with this year’s ceremony taking place on May 24. The big winner was Life, the autobiography of Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richards, which took the award for Audiobook of the Year as well as Best Biography/Memoir. For a full list of this year’s winners and nominees, click here, and to shop our collection of winners, click here.

Oprah’s Book Club
No discussion of books in any form is complete without a mention of Oprah Winfrey’s ultra-popular book club. A selection by Oprah is a goldmine for authors and publishers—sales of Toni Morrison’s books spiked more after Oprah selected her works than after she won the Nobel Prize for literature!3

The books Oprah has chosen have sold more than 22 million copies in the past ten years, and that number only includes the special editions branded with her logo.4 Although Oprah’s daytime talk show has come to an end, she has promised to continue her book club with a show dedicated to books and authors on her new network, OWN.5 It remains to be seen if the effect will be as substantial without the daily talk show promoting books. For a list of Oprah book club selections available on audio from Midwest Tape, click here.

Difficulty for Libraries
As this article from Library Journal points out, acquiring audiobooks can be a challenge for libraries due to vendor exclusives, different publication dates for audiobooks vs. print editions, and any number of other factors. The rise of digital editions has only compounded this problem. However, Midwest Tape is here to help. It’s true that other vendors do offer some library edition titles that we don’t have access to, but such is the case with all vendors. However, we do have the widest array and the broadest depth of titles out of any library vendor, and we offer the most flexible standing order plans and competitively price our titles. Plus, we now offer library exclusive audiobooks from Dreamscape Media.

What are Your Plans?
Does your library have any events or promotions planned for Audiobook Month or for the summer in general? What titles are your patrons clamoring for right now? Let us have your thoughts in the comments section below.