Two of the most innovative entities in the book industry are headed up by two of the most foward-thinking individuals in the business. Thankfully, the results of Dominique Raccah and Steve Potash working together on a pilot program stand to be nothing short of astounding, and hopefully to completely overturn any issues the industry has with library ebook lending.
Publishing company Sourcebooks is working with digital media content provider OverDrive on a short-term program to document the effects of lending. 35,000 librarians were invited to participate in the program, which will invite all of their library patrons to simultaneously use a single Sourcebooks title, The Four Corners of the Sky, between May 15th and June 1 in what the partnership is calling the “Big Library Read.”
Powered by OverDrive for its member libraries and documented in terms of impact on sales by Sourcebooks, the program is going to attempt to demonstrate once-and-for-all the effects of letting people borrow an ebook. OverDrive will track the lending of the book, and Sourcebooks will follow the sales of that title and the other titles published by author Michael Malone.
The plan is to reverse some of the long-held misconceptions that ebook lending could lead to increased piracy and decreased sales, a belief that has already been demonstrated to be false by Kobo at Digital Book World back in 2012 when Michael Tamblyn presented sales data for Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. His data showed that the sales of all three titles increased after the book was made available for lending, especially in regards to the sequels as patrons were eager to continue reading after being able to borrow the first book.
The program will also work on brand recognition and author following by determining how many patrons read or sampled the book, how many patrons went on to search for the author’s other titles, and inviting the patrons to follow the author via social media and tracking the increase there. Early data from this pilot will be presented at BookExpo America in May.