Bilbary.com, the international e-bookstore launched by former Waterstones head Tim Coates, went live with a beta test this morning with 340,000 titles from about 2,300 publishers. Coates told PW he expects to add approximately 100,000 titles from agency publishers in the next two to three weeks. By the end of April the plan is to add a further 150,000 titles from publishers outside of the U.S., but for which the publishers hold world rights. The final phase of the early rollout will be to add between 60,000 to 80,000 “quality” self-published titles and a selection of out-of-print books.
Coates, who announced his plans for Bilbary late last year, is positioning Bilbary to be publisher, customer, and library friendly. Publishers can set their own prices and change them whenever they want. Publishers can also sell or rent e-books by chapter and lend them out for a limited period. Coates sees the lending option as a particularly attractive option for expensive reference titles that publishers could lend at a reduced rate. To facilitate lending through libraries, Bilbary will let publishers set a “borrowing” price less than the sale price and include a time limit (Bilbary will set a 20-day limit as a default). Publishers will receive 80% of sales with Bilbary taking 20%.