Surpass E-Book

Surpass offers a variety of ways to make integration of e-books into Surpass seamless for your patrons.
E-book Integration

Surpass offers a variety of ways to make integration of e-books into Surpass seamless for your patrons.

In general, e-books are accessed by linking Surpass to an e-book provider’s system.  E-books are not stored directly in Surpass.  Patrons can link from Surpass to those systems in a variety of ways.  The ability to read e-books online and download to different types of devices will vary, based on the e-book provider.

Single Search: Search E-books and Print Materials from Surpass

Import MARC records from your e-book provider to allow patrons to perform a single search, using Surpass Safari, to find both materials in your library as well as those in your e-book collection.

Patrons will see both e-books and print materials in the results list from a single search:

Special Handling for E-books

When you specify a record as an e-book, Surpass knows how to handle them with smart options.  For example, instead of copy availability, Surpass shows “Online”.  E-books will also be excluded from operations like physical inventory.

An “Access E-book” link in Safari will take patrons directly to the selected title in the e-book system.

Some e-book providers, such as Overdrive, even include links in their records that allow patrons to view additional information on the book such as a free excerpt, without even checking the book out.

Using E-book Icons

Make it easy for patrons to spot e-books in their search list by choosing an e-book category icon.  Surpass provides several to choose from.

Or choose an icon that matches your specific e-book provider. Icons are provided for Overdrive, Axis-360, and Mackin VIA.  Others will be available later.

Easy Patron Authentication

Most e-book systems require your patrons to have a username (or library card) and password (or PIN) in order to borrow e-books.

Surpass provides functions to export patron lists to import into your e-book vendor’s system.  However, we also support an even better method: direct, real-time patron authentication with Surpass.  This is accomplished with the Surpass SIP Server, an add-on to your Surpass System.

Surpass SIP Server Advantages

  • No need to export and import
  • Data is always live.  The moment a new patron is added to Surpass, they can check-out an e-book
  • Patron password changes are instantly reflected in the e-book system.
  • Account Status is honored: Surpass SIP server will tell the e-book system if check-outs should be denied because the patron account is disabled, expired, or has passed limits for too many overdue items or fines.
Link for Direct Access

In some cases, patrons might want to search for e-books directly in the e-book vendor’s interface, rather than through Surpass Safari.  To make this easy for patrons, you can simply add a link to one of the customizable Widgets on your Safari home page.


Question: Do patrons check out e-books through Surpass?

Answer: No, Surpass links the patron to the e-book provider’s system and they check out from there.

Question: Do I have to store the e-books in Surpass so that patrons can download them from Safari to their reader or computer?

Answer: No, the books themselves are not stored in Surpass, just a record that points to the book.  The books are downloaded or read from your e-book vendor’s site.  When a patron sees an e-book listed in Surpass that they want to borrow, they click a link that jumps to the vendors site.

Question: What formats of e-books are available?  Do they have to be read on the computer?  Can the be downloaded to a Kindle, iPad, tablet, or phone?

Answer: This all depends on the e-book vendor you choose.  Each vendor has different capabilities for reading books online and for making them available on mobile devices.  The formats and devices supported might even vary among different books from the same vendor.  Most vendors will, at minimum, have their own e-book reading software for reading books on your computer or in the web browser, but most now also have readers for mobile devices.  Some provide capabilities to link to a patron’s Amazon account for automatic sending to a Kindle.  Some allow downloading files in epub, or PDF format where they can be read by a variety of device types with various programs.

Question: How much does the integration cost?

Answer: Many of the features are included in Surpass at NO extra cost:  Importing of MARC records and features for handling the records appropriately, e-book icons, links to the e-book site from a home-page widget, and exporting/importing of patrons.  Providing real-time patron authentication through SIP requires Surpass SIP server, which must be purchased separately and also has a small annual cost.  Your sales representative can provide pricing.  We are also exploring interfacing with some e-book vendors via a direct link that will also be offered as an add-on product.

Question: Which e-book vendors does Surpass work with?

Answer: Surpass works with almost any vendor, but the level of integration will vary.  Any vendor that can provide MARC records that are properly formatted should work for allowing patrons to search from Safari.  Records from Follett Shelf, for example, work well.  For real-time patron authentication, the vendor should support the industry standard SIP protocol.  We’ve currently tested this with Overdrive and Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360.  We’re exploring integration with Mackin VIA and will soon have information on integrating with their system.