Ebooks for Libraries

27 March 2015
From Joe Konrath:


  • I want to help authors get their ebooks into libraries.
  • I want to help libraries acquire indie ebooks.
  • To do this, I started a business called EAF –
  • I want to sell your ebooks to libraries.

What’s going on with libraries and ebooks?

There are 120,000 libraries in the US. These libraries, and their patrons, are eager for popular ebooks. Many libraries have a budget they must spend, or they risk having that budget cut.

Currently, libraries have no allies in the ebook market. They aren’t happy with the restrictions and costs of the current leader in supplying libraries with ebook content, Overdrive. Through Overdrive, many publishers charge high prices for ebooks, some higher than $80 a title. They also require yearly license renewals, and may force libraries to re-buy licenses after a certain arbitrary number of borrows.

Just one example of the perils of this approach for America’s libraries is that a library must pay for extensions of time-limited licenses of old ebooks and purchases of licenses for new ones. All kinds of sustainability and predictability issues aris

. . . .

Some indies are on Overdrive and 3M. I’ve been on Overdrive for a few years. My last quarterly check was about $60, and I have a large catalog. This is small money, not just for me, but for any writer. And I was fortunate enough to have been invited into Overdrive. Many authors are not.

The vast majority of libraries don’t have access to many of the ebooks that readers are seeking. The latest report showed that 33% of all ebooks sold on Amazon are from indie authors. Libraries are missing out on 1/3 of available titles, because they have no way easy way to acquire them.

Just as important, these are quality titles. People are reading, enjoying, and recommending them. Indie authors are hooking readers, and selling as well as the major publishing houses, but there isn’t a way for libraries to offer them to their patrons.

. . . .

For the past year, my business partner, August Wainwright, and I have been talking to acquisitions librarians across the country, and they crave an alternative to the status quo. These libraries are looking to buy thousands of ebooks at once in order to best serve their patrons and community.

Their main wish is to be treated fairly – which means they want to own the ebooks they purchase, acquire good content at a reasonable price, and have access to as many copies as they need.

Our solution? Give libraries what they’re asking for, and in a way that gives libraries the sustainable purchasing model they deserve. We’re striving to offer a large, curated collection of popular ebooks that libraries can easily purchase with just one click.

. . . .

EbooksAreForever distributes to libraries at $7.99 for full length novels, and $3.99-$4.99 for shorter works. We’re offering 70% royalties to the author, and the library will have the ability to purchase more copies as needed.

The way this works is that if a library wants to allow 3 patrons to borrow your ebook at any given time, they’d need to have purchased 3 “copies”. Most libraries adhere to a strict hold ratio (usually around 3:1) in order to present patrons with the best user experience possible. Our hope is that by making ebooks both affordable and sustainable, then libraries in response will automatically purchase more copies.

So, if you have a catalog of 10 ebooks that we then distribute to 1000 libraries, you’ve just earned $56,000 in royalties from making your books available to the library marketplace if they each buy one copy. If your titles are popular, they’ll buy more copies and you’ll earn more.

Link to the rest at Joe Konrath and thanks to Sabrina for the tip.

Here’s a link to Joe Konrath’s books

UPDATE: PG put this post together and scheduled it to appear a couple of days ago. He couldn’t figure out why so many people kept sending him tips about Joe’s plan. Then he checked and discovered that WordPress had failed to publish this at the proper time.

Rakuten to Buy OverDrive

20 March 2015

From Publishers Weekly:

In a move to strengthen its global presence in the digital marketplace, Japan’s Rakuten, Inc., has agreed to acquire OverDrive for $410 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in April.

OverDrive founder and CEO Steve Potash will stay and continue to direct OverDrive operations. OverDrive will retain its brand name while operating under Rakuten USA, the U.S. division of Rakuten Inc.

Based in Cleveland, OverDrive was one of the first companies to get deeply involved in supplying digital content to libraries, first with audio and then e-books. Its digital distribution platform now has more than 2.5 million titles and OverDrive has relationships with 5,000 publishers and 30,000 libraries, schools, and retailers.

. . . .

 Rakuten has revenues of $22.8 billion and is one of the world’s largest Internet service companies operating in three main areas: digital content, e-commerce, and finance. In addition to acquiring Kobo, Rakuten has continued to grow its digital contents businesses, adding video streaming service in 2012 and global TV and video site Viki in 2013.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly and thanks to Eric for the tip.

Fringe Factor: Small Presses and Self-Publishing

18 March 2015

From School Library Journal:

Beth Revis, author of the New York Times bestselling YA “Across the Universe” series (Penguin), joined a wave of established authors when she decided to self-publish her most recent book, The Body Electric.

“I wrote a book. I loved this book, I felt that it said exactly what I wanted it to say, but it didn’t fit in the current market,” says Revis, who produced The Body Electric in ebook and paperback format. “Twenty years ago—maybe even 10—I would have let it die a quiet death. But with self-publishing and my own career on the rise, I was able to get this book out into the world.”

Revis’s path illustrates an ongoing diversification and disintermediation in the publishing landscape, as more authors take advantage of self-publishing options or sign up with small presses. E-publishing has enabled individuals to easily and inexpensively self-publish ebooks, yielding a vast amount of titles.

Bolstered by technology, self-published writers, novice or seasoned, are carrying on a tradition of DIY self-expression outside of traditional publishing that has also given rise to blogs, fan fiction, and earlier, zines. This movement dovetails with libraries’ embrace of participatory maker culture: In addition to being readers, young library patrons are makers, writers, and doers, flocking to events like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) hosted by libraries.

. . . .

Quality and content matter most to librarians, not who the publisher is, says Parrott. Though librarians tend to be “publisher agnostic,” small presses must do extra legwork to get noticed.

“Getting into a library if you’re not with a big publisher is a little bit tougher,” says Miral Sattar, CEO and founder of Bibliocrunch, an author services marketplace. “If you’re with a small press, you have to submit your book similar to the way a [self-published] author would”—with additional effort and, often, a personal approach.

Link to the rest at School Library Journal and thanks to Bailey for the tip.

Weapons of Mass Instruction – A Bookmobile Tank

9 March 2015

Weapons of Mass Instruction: A 1979 Ford Falcon Converted in a Tank Armored with 900 Free Books from Colossal on Vimeo.

OverDrive Blames Kindle eBook Problem on Technical Snafu

27 February 2015

From Ink, Bits & Pixels:

If you’ve been checking ebooks out of your library over the past month, you may have noticed a certain problem with OverDrive. Numerous library patrons have been complaining on Amazon’s forums and elsewhere that new titles which libraries are adding to their catalogs are no longer available to read on the Kindle.

. . . .

OverDrive is having an issue with their system. It affects titles published since the beginning of the year, and it is impacting publishers both big (Macmillan, Harlequin, HarperCollins) and small (Overlook Press, Sourcebooks, and more).

. . . .

To start, It’s safe to assume that this is not an action taken by the major publishers; this issue is also hitting smaller independent publishers.

. . . .

So what’s going on here?

At this point I really don’t know, but in the absence of any new info my working hypothesis is that this really is a technical snafu. It’s a wide-ranging and very embarrassing technical snafu, but I have no evidence at this time to disprove that claim.

. . . .

Some newly published titles are getting through OverDrive to the Kindle platform, including Big 5 titles.

Link to the rest at Ink, Bits & Pixels

Fire in major Russian library destroys 1m historic documents

2 February 2015

From The Guardian:

A fire that ripped through one of Russia’s largest university libraries is believed to have damaged more than 1m historic documents, with some describing the fire as a cultural “Chernobyl”.

The blaze, which began on Friday and was still not completely out on Saturday evening, ravaged 2,000 square metres (21,500 sq ft) of the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (Inion) in Moscow, which was created in 1918 and holds 10m documents, some of which date back to the 16th century.

Vladimir Fortov, the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: “It’s a major loss for science. This is the largest collection of its kind in the world, probably equivalent to the [US] Library of Congress.

“One can find documents there that are impossible to find elsewhere, all the social sciences use this library. What has happened here is reminiscent of Chernobyl,” he said, referring to the 1986 nuclear catastrophe.

. . . .

Fortov told Kommersant FM radio that much of the damage was caused by water from the firefighting operations.

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Melissa for the tip.

Big-Box Store Has New Life as an Airy Public Library

29 January 2015

From The New York Times:

The hulking husk of a vacant Walmart here in the Rio Grande Valley is enjoying an unlikely second act. When the big-box retailer moved to a larger location down the street, the building might have been destined to house yet another large chain or to fall into disrepair. But rather than let it become an eyesore, the city scooped it up and spent $24 million transforming the drab structure into a 123,000-square-foot public library that serves as a vibrant space for residents here.

The library, which the McAllen Public Library system says “may very well be the largest single-floor public library in the nation,” has a modern, cheery feel. Twenty-foot ceilings, combined with new skylights and windows, create a bright, airy interior. Large three-dimensional signs that mark the sections hang from the ceilings, creating cozy nooks below.

The building includes a computer lab, a cafe, meeting rooms with videoconferencing capabilities and a 180-seat auditorium. It is a major upgrade from the city’s old 40,000-square-foot main library, which had cramped shelves and limited seating.

“In the old place, basically every table or chair next to an electrical outlet was taken, and you had others glancing longingly at those seats,” said John Donohue, the library’s circulation supervisor, who has been with the system for 31 years. “Now, we have outlets at all tables.”

. . . .

Residents have flocked to the new library, which opened its doors in December. It now serves more than double the number of patrons it did in the old building — about 62,000 people visited in July, up from 28,000 in July 2011.

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Cora for the tip.

Glen Ellyn Public Library creates new collection for emerging authors

25 January 2015

From the Daily Herald:

Glen Ellyn Public Library has created a new collection to support self-published authors and give patrons a way to obtain hard-to-find reads.

To be included in the new Emerging Author Collection, books must be about the Chicago metro area or be written by authors who live here.

Although authors who didn’t publish their own works can be in the collection, the library created the section with the expanding world of self-publishing in mind.

“We actually started the collection because of the growing phenomenon that we’re seeing that so many people are publishing their books themselves,” Adult Department Director Susan DeRonne said. “And these books don’t always get reviewed by the standard journals that we usually do our selecting from.”

. . . .

 “Twenty years ago, a self-published book was sort of frowned upon as a book that just didn’t make it,” she said. “There’s no longer that stigma on self-published books at all. It’s just another avenue of information.”

. . . .

She said the collection will help authors because most public libraries still only add books to their collection that have gone through “the traditional channels of publishing houses.”

“There’s a lot of good writers out there who don’t make it through publishing houses,” she said.

Link to the rest at the Daily Herald

Toronto Public Library sadly embraces ‘culture of free’

20 January 2015

From the Toronto Star:

The Toronto Public Library, the largest in the country, has launched a new platform of penny-pinching ingenuity. The “Sell Books to the Library” program advertises to readers that it will buy used hardcover copies of bestselling titles listed on its website at the beginning of every month at five dollars a piece.

This innocuous sounding program is but the latest manifestation of the so-called “culture of free” that has ravaged the media, music and book worlds. Without the FBI threatening quarter-million-dollar fines or five year prison terms for copyright infringement — as it does on DVDs — the value system that supports the prospect of just reward is eroded. Individuals and companies used to paying nothing for artists’ work now do so without compunction.

. . . .

Alarmingly, this phenomenon of exploitation includes the very institutions whoseraison d’être (you would have thought) demand a respect of writers and their product, acting not as custodians but instead pushing for their own chance to outwit circumstance and pay nothing. The amendment, in 2012, of Canadian copyright law to include “education” as the object of legitimate “fair dealing” has faculties across the country brazenly copying entire chapters or 10 per cent of a book for the assembly of fat study guides, for which not a single writer is paid, meted out to hundreds of thousands of students.

And now the Toronto Public Library is zealously joining the cheapskates’ fray. The books it has listed on its “Sell Books to the Library” website page are not books that the public does not want; their authors are not ones who, the great lie of media and festivals, stand to benefit from extra publicity. No, the list is comprised of books so popular that the library is having a hard time meeting existing demand. December’s inaugural list includes, for instance, Canadian authors Margaret Atwood, David Bezmozgis, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Kathleen Reichs, Peter Robinson, Carrie Snyder, Miriam Toews, as well as Sean Michaels and Thomas King, winners of this year’s Scotiabank Giller and Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction respectively.

Instead of ordering copies of books that furnish a royalty, and supporting the trade, as all honourable purchases do, the TPL is buying off the back of a public truck it has ushered into the courtyard, depriving writers and the companies that invest in them of their just reward. It can do so because it has decided that the lowest possible price to be paid is the right one.

Link to the rest at the Toronto Star

25+ Of The Most Majestic Libraries In The World

10 January 2015

From boredpanda:

Though they are losing ground to the e-book and the audio book, libraries were once central hubs of human intellectual progress. There’s something about them that still attracts people, however – whether it’s their magnificent architecture or the unmistakable smell of books and dust, scholars and dreamers alike still enjoy perusing their hoards of literary treasures.

Because of their critical importance, libraries were often built to be beautiful and built to last. Combined with the sometimes priceless treasures that they hold, their simultaneously enormous and intimate spaces possess a charm that no other type of building can command.


The National Library Of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Link to the rest at boredpanda and thanks to Meryl for the tip.

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