Blog June 2013 – Day 3 – How soft is a soft launch?

We had our soft launch of e-books today. Which by the end of the day, didn’t feel that soft.

We have had soft launches before – our new discovery layer, where we changed the link to our catalogue and made a website announcement, but that’s it.  No big fuss, just quiet and calm. Same with our new website, we just changed over one morning, during a maintenance downtime.

This soft launch has been very different for a couple of reasons. One, it is for something totally new, we weren’t replacing something old with something else. Secondly, we had been asked for this service for so long, that we had to shout it from the roof tops as soon as we knew it was up and running.

So what was different in terms of what we did in our soft launch?

For both types of soft launches, we posted information to our website and to our Facebook page. Even those posts were different however. Before, they were low-key, this time they were woo-hoo whiz bang!  This time we also added a big notice to our discovery layer – which screamed e-books.

We also did quite a bit of website editing, to bring our e-books content up to date and ensure we had consistency on how we were labelling them (with or without the hyphen, any capitals etc). And to finish it off, produced a  flyer with a quick overview on how it worked, to get the information out to the branches ASAP. In other instances, all this happened a bit more slowly over time, not so fast.

Our pre-publicity was virtually non-existent in this instance, because it was only late last week that we knew we were going live this week. After such a long wait, we didn’t want to give our users a definite date that we couldn’t meet.

In the end it has been a fairly unconventional soft launch, more hard than soft. The press releases and all that would make it ‘hard launch’ will come later.

Response to our soft launch has been great. Lots of borrowing already, lots of likes on Facebook and many comments on how great it is (and how great the library is for doing it, yay!).

The next soft launch will be easier, we will be adding a second e-book vendor.  And then e-magazines.  Lots more to come in the next few months, so I guess I’ll discover even more levels of soft launches.

How hard has your hardest soft launch been and how did it go?



    • Bronwyn on June 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Lucky library users – goodluck with the hard launch! Will you be trying out the ebooks?

  1. Have already started reading my first library borrowed e-book. After all, I have to know how it works for when library users ask me about it. 🙂

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