Amazon has reached a much anticipated deal with the Digital Public Library of America to distribute 10,000 audiobooks and ebooks to libraries. The content will be provided by Amazons own imprints, such as Thomas and Mercer, Amazon Crossing and 47 North. This is the first time that libraries will receive digital books directly from Amazon and this a very big deal.
The audiobooks and ebooks will be available on the DPLA Exchange, the only not-for-profit, library-centered content marketplace. Amazon Publishing titles will begin to be available in the DPLA Exchange via four licensing models this summer. The vast majority of libraries will be able to access all of the Amazon Publishing titles by the end of the year. Library patrons will be able to access Amazon Publishing titles through SimplyE, the library-developed and managed e-reader app founded by New York Public Library.
I have heard from various library sources that the agreement with DPLA is not exclusive, so Amazon will eventually work out deals with other digital distributors such as the Cloud Library, Hoopla and Overdrive. I think the DPLA agreement was reached, because they literary hammered Amazon for months, trying to make it happen. I believe that the current deal with DPLA was more or less a testbed, so various licensing issues can be hashed out. Their are various terms limitations, but the total costs of each of them are still being worked out. The current terms are; Unlimited, one user at a time access, two-year license, Bundles of 40 lends, available with a maximum of 10 simultaneously, with no time limit to use the lends, Bundles of five lends, available simultaneously, with no time limit to use the lends and 26 lends, one user at a time access, the lesser of two years or 26 lends license.
It is currently unknown what the exact costs will be for the different term limits, or if the costs will be calculated differently for audiobooks and ebooks. These sort of things are likely still being worked out, which is why the launch date for the Amazon exclusive content will be sometime this summer.
One of the things I have heard for sure, is that Amazon will not directly receive data from the DPLA on how many times audio or ebooks will be loaned out. This would be solid for people who are concerned about privacy and their borrowing habits being fed into the Amazon analytics machine.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.