October 5, 2016 Last Updated 7:46 am

Wisconsin county library system informs patrons of loss of digital magazines

The promise of unlimited access to a huge catalog of magazines disappears when a library system or supplier changes digital newsstand partner

Unless you are directly involved in the library business, which many don’t even think of as a business until they get involved in it, you don’t don’t see the companies competing hard to get their share of systems.

In the area of digital magazines, TNM has long held that it is the secret weapon of the movement – it is where digital magazines are proving far more popular with decision makers than print.

The reasons are simple: print magazines are hard for libraries to handle. Each month new issues come in, old ones filed away, pages get torn out of the issues on a frequent basis, and selection is necessarily limited by the space allotted to magazines versus books and other materials.


Zinio, the digital newsstand, long ago entered into a partnership with Recorded Books to serve library systems. Then there is OverDrive, which in the fall of 2014 partnered up with Barnes & Noble and its NOOK digital newsstand.

But what happens when one of these library vendors ends its partnership with a digital newsstand? Suddenly libraries start to scramble, and patrons are informed digital magazines will no longer be available.

In July, OverDrive terminated its partnership with Barnes and Noble and now some library patrons are being informed.

“We regret to announce that, effective October 1st, magazines will no longer be available in Wisconsin’s Digital Library,” Wisconsin’s Digital Library recently announced.

“In July, OverDrive terminated its partnership with Barnes and Noble, which provides NOOK Periodicals for Wisconsin’s Digital Library. The WPLC, the managing body for Wisconsin’s Digital Library, is exploring other potential digital magazine products to replace this valuable statewide service to library users. You may still have access to other digital magazines through another service; contact your local library to find out or visit them in person to read your favorite magazines in print.”

eBook services have made their way into so many library systems, but few are ready to shove all their print books out the door.

The same can’t be said for magazines, however. Many a library professional has fantasized about what they could do with the space taken up by their magazine collections. But once gone, they are not going to bring the old magazines back.

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