As the American Library Association Annual Conference kicks off in Las Vegas, Simon & Schuster has announced that, following a "successful pilot program” in 20 select library systems, it will now open its catalog of e-books to all libraries nationwide.
“In the year since we first started our pilot, we have been delighted with the response from the participating libraries, and we believe the time is right to make our e-books available to all libraries,” said S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy in a statement. Reidy added that the library market for e-books is still evolving and credited the move to “invaluable dialogue and feedback from many individual librarians and the leadership of the American Library Association.”
S&S e-books are currently available through the 3M, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive platforms. Each title licensed by a library is usable for one year from the date of purchase, for an unlimited number of checkouts during the one-year term, on a one user/one copy model. Frontlist and backlist titles are available simultaneously with their print publication. In addition, Simon & Schuster’s e-book program includes a “Buy It Now” capability, with a portion of each patron purchase going to the library.
The move comes a little over a year after S&S became the last of the Big Five publishers to enter the e-book lending game, with a pilot program in 3 library systems. In December of last year, S&S expanded its pilot to enable more data to be gathered. And in April of this year, S&S’s Doug Stambaugh, v-p of global e-book market development, told PW’s Michael Kelley that the publisher had “come to a place where we are comfortable.”
The announcement is another positive development following two years of work by the American Library Association’s Digital Content Working Group, which, as Reidy acknowledged, has been instrumental in opening the lines of communication with publishers. E-books will be a hot topic once again at this year’s ALA conference, especially as libraries begin to look past establishing basic access to e-books to bettering the user experience, and experimenting with new models for digital content.