Panorama Project Launches “Panorama Picks” Regional Lists of Popular Library Ebooks

The Panorama Project—a multi-partner library and publishing industry initiative to research the impact that libraries have on book and author discovery, brand development, and retail sales—this week announced the launch of “Panorama Picks,” a free program offering librarians, publishers, and booksellers a topline assessment of regional library demand for recently published ebook titles.

Panorama Project logoThe Panorama Project—a multi-partner library and publishing industry initiative to research the impact that libraries have on book and author discovery, brand development, and retail sales—this week announced the launch of “Panorama Picks,” a free program offering librarians, publishers, and booksellers a topline assessment of regional library demand for recently published ebook titles.

Using aggregated, anonymized library holds data provided primarily by OverDrive, Panorama Picks will generate quarterly lists of ebooks with long wait lists, focusing on titles other than obvious bestsellers, according to an announcement. Initially, this will be accomplished by creating lists of the most in-demand titles in adult fiction, adult nonfiction, YA fiction, and YA nonfiction in eight U.S. regions—California, the Great Lakes, the Midwest, Mountains and Plains, New Atlantic, New England, Pacific Northwest, and the Southeast, with Hawaii tracked separately. The resulting lists are filtered to include only titles published at least 12 months ago, but no more than 24 months ago, and then scrubbed to exclude well-known bestsellers, recent book club selections, and other titles that have been heavily promoted during that quarter.

In a January interview, Panorama Project lead Cliff Guren told LJ that there is “meaningful difference in the makeup of demand in various regions,” and the initial lists, linked above, appear to support that claim. For example, the top three titles on California’s nonfiction list include The Complete Slow Cooker (America’s Test Kitchen); Peak Performance, by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness (Rodale); and Jeff Guinn’s The Road to Jonestown (Simon & Schuster). But in the Pacific Northwest, locals were placing the most holds on Nancy Driscol Engle’s Influential Women of Spokane (Arcadia), A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (Project Management Institute), and Scott Kloos’s Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants (Timber Press).

“The resulting lists highlight a wide range of in-demand titles,” the Panorama Picks site explains. “Some are familiar titles that are enjoying sustained popularity. Others are less well known titles that have, for one reason or another, generated strong local interest.”

Libraries, bookstores, and other interested parties can provide feedback regarding the new program via a short online survey asking for general impressions, how the lists could be made more useful, how many title recommendations respondents would prefer, and more. The criteria used to generate the lists may be refined going forward, depending on theresults of this survey.

The project plans to promote Panorama Picks to book retailers as a free tool that can help identify unmet local demand for newer backlist titles. Similarly, libraries could use the lists for benchmarking and collection development.

Launched last year with initial funding from Rakuten OverDrive, the Panorama Project aims to quantify the impact of libraries on the entire publishing ecosystem. Its advisory council includes members from Penguin Random House, Sourcebooks, Open Road Media, the American Library Association, the Audio Publishers Association, NISO, OverDrive, and Ingram Content Group.

In November, the project published a report describing the positive impact that an OverDrive Big Library Read ebook campaign had on retail sales for a debut author’s memoir. In addition to launching Panorama Picks, the project recently published a free online Directory of Readers’ Advisory Activities, and is currently compiling the results of a recent survey of libraries regarding readers’ advisory. Guren said in January that he expects the directory and the survey results—scheduled for publication this summer—to become an “important teaching tool for the publishing industry [that is] largely unaware of the activities libraries do,” or the impact that library promotions or one-on-one suggestions can have.

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Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com, @MatthewEnis on Twitter, matthewenis.com) is Senior Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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