Just ahead of BookExpo America, Midwest Tape, a media distributor to libraries, has announced the roll-out of its new e-book service. Thousands of titles from indie publishers, including comics, will now be available through the company's hoopla digital platform, which currently offers libraries access to movies, music, audiobooks and TV shows.
Officials said the hoopla e-book titles will be available on a multi-user basis, a factor that sets the service apart from the one copy/one user models that currently dominate the market.
The addition of e-books comes nearly two years after hoopla launched, and roughly a year after Midwest Tape said the service would expand its offerings to include e-books. Earlier this month, Macmillan announced it would offer audiobooks on the hoopla digital platform—the first of the Big Five publishers to do so, although more announcements are expected soon.
To read e-books and comics on hoopla digital, library cardholders at participating libraries can use the free hoopla mobile app (on either Android or iOS devices), or visit hoopladigital.com. Hoopla digital has partnerships with more than 786 public library systems across North America.
At last year’s BEA, hoopla founder Jeff Jankowski called the one copy/one user model a relic of the analog past, and compared the long waits for popular e-book titles to the dissatisfaction users felt with old video rental stores. With Hoopla, e-books are always instantly available, 24/7, and every time a book is borrowed the publisher gets paid.
“That’s the way it should it should be online, and through an app,” Jankowski told PW.