Simon & Schuster first got involved in distributing their vast collection of eBooks to libraries earlier this year. In order for libraries to carry their titles the publisher was basically forcing 3M, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive to implement a buy it now button as part of the arrangement. Many libraries and consortium’s did not want to sell eBooks on their websites and resisted carrying any titles by S&S. Today, the publisher relaxed their restrictions.
“From the beginning, the ALA has advocated for the broadest and most affordable library access to e-titles, as well as licensing terms that give libraries flexibility to best meet their community needs,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “We appreciate that Simon & Schuster is modifying its library ebook program to provide libraries a choice in whether or not to participate in Buy It Now. Providing options like these allow libraries to enable digital access while also respecting local norms or policies.”
“This change also speaks to the importance of sustaining conversations among librarians, publishers, distributors and authors to continue advancing our shared goals of connecting writers and readers,” Young added. “We are still in the early days of this digital publishing revolution, and we hope we can co-create solutions that expand access, increase readership and improve exposure for diverse and emerging voices,” said DCWG Co-Chairs Carolyn Anthony and Erika Linke. “Many challenges remain including high prices, privacy concerns, and other terms under which ebooks are offered to libraries. We are continuing our discussions with publishers.”
I think S&S have relaxed their policies because libraries simply don’t want to be getting themselves involved with retail. Libraries exist because of public funds and forcing them to become a bookstore in order to carry specific titles is tantamount to extortion.