One of the quiet recommendations for independent brick-and-mortar bookstores and local public libraries has been for those establishments to evolve into community-based publishers using ebooks distribution or print-on-demand kiosks. Now, Smashwords is making that concept a reality in a test market, the more than 200 public libraries who are members of the Califa library system.
Located in California, the library system established a partnership with Smashwords that will let the libraries’ patrons check out ebooks from a catalog of 10,000 digital titles in Smashwords’ platform on a one-at-a-time basis. The library system purchased the ability to lend the titles at a cost of three dollars apiece.
Additionally, Califa library patrons can upload their original content to Smashwords’ platform using the upload tool and enjoy the benefit of having their ebooks distributed to Barnes and Noble and Kobo marketplaces. As patrons upload content the libraries are notified and given the option to include that original content in their lending catalogs.
A search of Califa’s website shows that the organization has been working towards an anticipated ebook program of some kind, with the hope of launching in the fall of this year. The required funding to bring this to fruition did mean an increase from around $30,000 for ebooks to $325,000 across the library system. Thankfully, a partnership with an established platform like Smashwords means the wait time won’t be nearly as long.