Rowman & Littlefield has announced a new partnership to provide e-books directly to the Douglas County Libraries (DCL) E-Book platform. Under terms of the deal, R&L will be provide its e-books at a flat discount directly to the library, which will then own, and host the e-books on its own system for e-book lending.

Pioneered by director Jamie LaRue and his staff, the Douglas County Libraries have been a national leader among libraries in developing their own system for owning and lending e-book content, rather than simply relying on licensing content from intermediaries, such as OverDrive. In a PW column last year, LaRue explained his decision to invest in the libraries' own e-book hosting service.

"Sacrificing ownership means libraries open themselves up to unpredictable changes and charges—hosting, software revisions, changes in models that may require workflow changes on our part, license management schemes," LaRue explained. "And sacrificing ownership locks us into vendor relationships that can be predatory. OverDrive makes it clear that we don’t own the content we pay for, and 3M says it’s ours, but only if the publisher gives us permission to transfer it to another hosting service, for which we will no doubt be charged new platform fees." LaRue left the library earlier this year, to pursue full-time writing and consulting work.

With its new partnership, R&L will offer trade, general interest, and reference titles for sale to DCL.

“We are very pleased to come to an agreement to purchase e-book files from Rowman & Littlefield for Douglas County Libraries’ collection," said DCL interim director Rochelle Logan in a release. "Our patrons will now have the opportunity to access their great nonfiction titles on topics such as history, parenting, politics, and health.”

Rowman & Littlefield v-p of marketing Linda May said the publisher was excited to be breaking new ground with the Douglas County Libraries. "There are several other libraries and library systems interested in buying e-books directly from us to load on their own platforms," she noted, "but Douglas County is the only public library so far. They have been in the forefront of this movement and we expect to learn a lot from the partnership.”