3M Cloud Library was set up in the BEA Digital Zone to talk about its library lending offerings, but the real news from 3M lately was the recent partnership with Smashwords that puts the ebook distributor’s titles in the catalog for libraries to choose from. Currently, public libraries are struggling with trying to implement digital lending, as five of the Big Six publishers are not yet fully on board with allowing libraries to include their titles in ebook lending programs.
3M spoke to GoodEReader at Digital Book World in January and demonstrated its library-specific e-reader, a pared down device that libraries can let patrons checkout. Since the device has very limited capabilities, it is both the perfect device to prevent theft of expensive e-readers and the ideal device for library patrons who don’t already own a fancier digital reading device. At DBW, 3M was testing the platform in five libraries around the country, but as of BEA this week that number jumped to fifty library systems.
“Smashwords’ authors and publishers are now going to be ingested in the cloud library within the next ninety days,” said Mercer, “and that offers about 100,000 more titles that our libraries can select from, which is great for authors and small publishers. Partnering with Smashwords is a great way to get that content loaded in the cloud library.”
This program will serve a twofold purpose, first in offering libraries and their patrons even more ebook content for lending programs, and second in terms of helping indie authors in the process of getting their books discovered by a larger public audience.