Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wattpad, publishing and libraries

In a previous post entitled, 'Thoughts about librarians as publishers', I expressed the viewpoint that libraries could participate in disrupting publishing by becoming new players in the publishing market. Well in today's post, I offer a similar viewpoint, but by discussing new player in digital publishing that is doing exactly what I recommended for libraries in my previous post.

I was recently led to discover a self-described 'unlimited, ever-growing library of free books and stories' named Wattpad (URL: ). On Wattpad, users are able to discover fictional writing, share stories with friends and follow authors of interest chapter-by-chapter online and across mobile devices. It is also described as a 'new form of collaborative entertainment that connects readers and writers through storytelling and creative fiction while offering mobile and social eReading experiences'. It also describes itself as a community of readers and writers. Finally, it is free!

According to TechCrunch writer, Darrell Etherington (2013), Wattpad is an online 'Toronto-based social network based on writing and reading'. On the other hand, the site is described by Social Times writer Devon Glenn (2012) as a digital 'publishing platform' that seeks to become the YouTube for Writers and Readers. Mashable writer Adam PopeScu (2013), describes Wattpad as 'the biggest under-the-radar e-literature community on the web' as well as a 'storytelling and consumption platform for readers who want deeper interaction' (2013). Already, amateur authors have been able through the platform to land book deals from traditional publishing company according to a Huffington Post news article ('Online Writing Turned Book Deals', 2013). 

In my view, I like that Wattpad describes itself as an 'ever-growing library' as that is what I believe it is. It is a free library where authors and readers are connected without the middle man of publishing houses. Wattpad in my view is the perfect model for public libraries that want to expand their e-book collections without having to pay the ridiculous licensing fees of traditional publishers. I suggest that such libraries invest their e-book monies into platforms to host works of local and established authors, and enable community and interaction between readers and the authors in socially virtual spaces. It is my view point that Wattpad is one of our latest competitors in library-land (at least for public libraries).


Etherington, D. (2013, Aug. 12). Wattpad launches new self-publishing crowdfunding, first revenue model for the social network. Retrieved from

Glenn, D. (2012, Dec. 4). How Wattpad plans to turn its publishing platform into YouTube for writers. 

'Online writing turned book deals: Three teen authors who got their big break online'. (2013, Mar. 23). Retireved from

PopeScu, A. (2013, Sep. 30). Wattpad is the most active social site you've never heard of. Retrieved from

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A library student "goes" to business school

This week I got the amazing opportunity to speak to students with interest in business and entrepreneurship. It was the launch of a new entrepreneurship club, Micro-Tyco at Western Univeristy (formerly University of Western Ontario). In this post, I want to describe in brief my experience and make some points that I think are relevant for my fellow library students and administrators of library schools.

The Ivey business school building, the setting of the event was very impressive. There were lots of rooms for small group collaboration, great space and decor, with lots of natural light. It did indeed seem like a great place for learning and a place that library school student would be envious of. It was within this pleasant setting that I saw the pleasantness also reflected in the faces and interactions of Ivey students.

After finding my way to the room of the event, I had a pleasant evening of learning more about the club initiative from the executive presenters, sharing my limited "knowledge" of entrepreneurship with other young entrepreneurs and interacting with those present. The atmosphere felt very comfortable and supportive. I felt comfortable as if I was among kindred spirits. Both among the young entrepreneurs there and the business school students there. Most importantly, I received positive feedback about ideas I shared there relating to entrepreneurship that made me feel really appreciated.

Through one on one interaction, I also found that the way that the Ivey students spoke about their teachers and their classes was very positive. They seemed very positive about their learning experiences at Ivey, which made me in turn wish I could experience being a student there.

That said, I want to turn my reflection to what I think about these issues as it relates to library schools.

1. Library schools need to ensure that students are pleased with the quality of their teaching, the building and facilities and have many positive things to say about their learning experiences. As one of my colleagues said to me this month, the best marketing for a department comes from its students. The more students feel positive about their experiences at library school, the more they will share and spread such good reports to others outside. This in turn will automatically pay off in recruiting new students to library schools.

2. By hanging out at Ivey Business school with these young entrepreneurs and business students, I felt that I had an opportunity to make them appreciate my skills and area of expertise in information. This got me thinking that the more opportunities I could get like this, could pay off in the future, as these persons may be my next network contacts to lead to future contracts for my services. My take home point from this thought is that library students need to seek opportunities to network more with business school students. In a previous blog post, I have raised the point that:
LIS schools need to help students learn the same networking skills that business students learn and practice, which can help them get jobs in any field or industry. Hence, we can not afford to isolate our students to talking solely with library professionals, but must also push our students to share what they are learning in library school with persons in other sectors, and get feedback about how what they are learning may be transferrable to jobs outside of traditional librarian jobs.
Well, these are my thoughts for now.