Simon & Schuster has been slowly dipping their toes into distributing their electronic book titles to libraries in the US. The publishing company has been participating in a pilot program in 20 different libraries in order to find a viable business model that worked for all parties involved. Today, ahead of the American Library Association Annual conference in Las Vegas, S&S has announced that are expanding nationwide.
Effective immediately, public libraries across the United States can acquire for their collections ebook editions of such beloved classic favorites and current bestsellers as The Great Gatsby, Steve Jobs, Doctor Sleep, Hard Choices, The Flamethrowers, The Light Between Oceans, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and the Mortal Instruments and Dork Diaries series.
S&S is offering both their frontlist and backlist titles, which means as soon as the novel is released in bookstores, libraries have a chance to purchase a copy. The library can offer an unlimited number of checkouts during the one-year term for which it has purchased a copy, although each copy may only be checked out by one user at a time.
Penguin pioneered the library concept of the Buy it Now Button. This allowed libraries to act as retail outlets, by offering the ability to sell the title to patrons. The library, publisher and distributer all got a piece of the transaction if the wait list was too long. 3M, Baker & Taylor, and Overdrive will all be expanding their distribution of Penguin titles all over the USA and offering the Buy it Now Button.
“In the year since we first started our pilot, we have been delighted with the response from the participating libraries, and we believe the time is right to make our ebooks available to all libraries,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster. “Although the library market for ebooks is still evolving, we are pleased to now offer ebooks to libraries on a universal basis, providing their patrons the content they desire in increasingly popular digital formats, and helping libraries to continue serving their communities as they have so well for so many years.
ALA President Barbara Stripling released the following statement – “Today represents an important milestone for improving the ability of libraries to serve the public in the digital age. America’s libraries are the quintessential institution in connecting authors and readers. We have always known that library lending encourages patrons to experiment by sampling new authors, topics and genres. This experimentation stimulates the market for books—with the library serving as a critical de facto discovery, promotion and awareness service for authors and publishers.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.