One library is working with a tech start-up to give patrons “free addictive fiction published one chapter at a time.” A recent article from The Digital Shift describes the partnership between Santa Clarita Library (SCCLD) and JukePop, a new platform for self-published content that displays work in ebook form (Barack 2014). While this project is a recent development, both the library and the company are already receiving accolades and recognition. SCCLD was recently given the Top Innovator award for 2014 by the Urban Libraries Council, and JukePop completed a successful KickStarter campaign.
By working with SCCLD, JukePop is able to connect the public to independently published content, one chapter at a time, and allows readers to provide feedback and ratings. As it says in the ULC award website, SCCLD and JukePop wanted to provide a new route to independent eBooks because of the cost to libraries and challenges to library patrons. This new platform cannot replace demand for comprehensive commercial eBook services, but JukePop is able to offer a twist on ebook content: self-published fiction in an easy to use and highly interactive platform.
The public can view the JukePop platform by visiting the SCCLD website. Clicking on the cover icon for each book takes you directly into the first chapter of the book, for quick reading. Each book can be tagged for content and genre. JukePop provides analytics that will help quality content be showcased, including through reader retention and reader rating. A recent browse in JukePop led me to works in a wide range of genres, including adventure, dystopian, and paranormal—content runs eclectic, but appears to be family friendly.
Some libraries might be reluctant to provide broad access to self-published fiction, or even to promote access to a new platform from the main library website. While it is understandable that libraries want to be cautious about new technologies or forms of content, SCCLD appears to benefit from working with a company that can mediate these concerns. All of the content in the platform is separate from the SCCLD catalog, and, according to their website, all comments regarding content or technical problems should be directed to JukePop.
While digital content will continue to shift with available technologies and modes of expression, libraries should consider the possibilities of providing new ways of sharing self-published and independent fiction, especially in an era that delights in serial media. SCCLD should be recognized for taking an experimental leap into providing patrons access to a new writing landscape, which may help readers—and public libraries—better support creative communities.
Barack, Lauren. “JukePop Opens Kickstarter to Get Indie Ebooks into Libraries” The Digital Shift. September 27, 2014.