US-based Baker & Taylor (B&T) and Canada-based Whitehots Inc will co-operate to offer Canadian libraries and schools a one-stop, cloud-based platform to acquire and distribute print and digital material.
“What was missing in the market was a Canadian company that was able to sell both print and digital materials to the Canadian public and school libraries,” said Russ Culver, c.e.o. of Whitehots.
The partnership will also bring B&T’s Axis 360 digital media library into the Canadian market. “The Axis 360 platform is really designed around mobile access,” said Michael Bills, B&T’s director of sales and marketing for digital products. The platform supports devices such as PCs and Macs, smartphones and tablets running either iOS or Android operating systems, as well as e-readers such as Nook, Sony Reader and Kobo’s devices.
Bills said B&T is also making audiobooks available—they are increasingly used in schools to help teach students to read. He noted the system is cloud-based, meaning the company will host and circulate material on behalf of the school and library, saving them from installing any hardware. Customers can also select content that is most useful for their user group.
“We do support consortia-shared resource installations, where libraries or schools might band together and share the cost of a common collection of material that is accessible by all users of that group,” added Bills.
The Axis 360 interface is available in English, and Bills said the company is looking at including other languages. He added that B&T was looking at other international markets for Axis 360, with emerging customers in Asia: “As our publisher relationships grow and we can offer content suitable for different markets, we expand to meet that demand.”
Culver said: “The materials we’ll be offering for sale have been cleared through contract with the originating publisher for distribution in Canada.” He noted that while “it is early days”, there had already been interest from the Canadian market.
“There is demand for a wider choice for e-book provision in Canada; and that the favoured supplier would be a Canadian-based distributor,” added Bills.