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RB Digital Magazine Service Review

Consultation and Report

Request for Feedback

Kingston Frontenac Public Library staff are working on the Library’s 2019 budget and are facing some tough decisions regarding some of our digital resources. We are looking for feedback from users of our  RBdigital magazine service. There are multiple pressures on our collections budget that are making it necessary to consider the cancellation of one or more of the digital resources we offer, and RBdigital is one such resource.

Many of our resources, including RBdigital  are priced in US dollars and are impacted by changes in the exchange rate.  These products are also subject to yearly price increases that can exceed the percentage increase in our operating budget. The Library pays a yearly fee to have the RBdigital service and then pays for subscriptions on top of that fee.  Some of the subscription costs are as high as $570/year for a single magazine. Costs for other digital resources, such as OverDrive (eBooks and downloadable audiobooks) and Hoopla (movies, music, audio and eBooks) are also rising and the Library is struggling to maintain all of these services while still meeting user needs for content and wait times. While use of eBooks and other digital resources is rising, there has not been a corresponding drop in demand for print materials, putting further pressure on our budget.

An alternative to RBdigital is PressReader. KFPL already subscribes to PressReader for digital newspaper content, including the Kingston Whig-Standard, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post and many other Canadian and international newspapers. PressReader has recently added more magazine content and greatly improved their mobile app. PressReader’s content overlaps with RBdigital – providing 13 of the 49 magazines that are available through RBdigital, including Canadian Living and Newsweek, with 10 other titles available, but in different versions – from  Australia, the United Kingdom or South Africa.  23/49 titles is a significant amount of cross-over between two costly resources.

As RBdigital users, we are asking you to try out PressReader and let us know if it meets your needs. The app can be downloaded from iTunes, Google Playand through Microsoft. You will need your library barcode and PIN to access PressReader.

Please direct your comments and questions to Laura Carter, Director, Branch Experience by August 27, 2018.

Laura Carter
Director, Branch Experience
Kingston Frontenac Public Library
130 Johnson Street
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 1X8
(613) 549-8888 x3530

Consultation Results

All registered users of RBDigital were emailed the above information and asked to respond with their comments. Feedback was also solicited through the Library's website and e-newsletter. 90 patrons responded to the request for feedback. While approximately half of the respondents indicated that PressReader met their needs as an alternative to RBDigital, the other half expressed opposition to cancelling the RBDigital service, citing issues of accessibility, title availability and ease of use. KFPL decided to renew the resource for another year, do some promotion of the service and re-evaluate before preparing the 2020 budget.