The state library of Kansas this week said that it will partner with upstart e-bookseller Bilbary to facilitate patrons wishing to buy e-books. State librarian Jo Budler told PW that the library would soon add a link to Bilbary on its Web site as an option for patrons, and while the library will not receive income from sales—at least not during this phase of the plan—Budler said the move serves two purposes: serving patrons who want to buy e-books quickly and easily, and helping to support a new “library friendly” player in the growing e-bookselling market.
Bilbrary, led by Tim Coates, former head of the Waterstone’s bookselling chain in the U.K. launched in the U.S. earlier this year. Coates is hoping to position Bilbary to be “publisher, customer, and library friendly.” Publishers working with Bilbary can set their own prices, change them at will, and can also sell or rent e-books by chapter or lend them for a limited period.
Budler told PW the partnership took root after a meeting at ALA Midwinter in Dallas, when Coates and Budler spoke following a meeting of COSLA (Chief Officers of State Library Agencies) officials—Budler heads a COSLA task force on e-books. Coming off Budler’s successful high profile battle with e-book vendor OverDrive, Budler has been active in seeking a healthier alternative to the current e-book system in which library lending is often restricted by publishers, or third-party vendors. Budler told PW since the OverDrive fight, patrons have called the library to express their support, with many seeking to buy e-book titles and donate them to the library for lending. “We know that’s not possible at this time,” she said, “but, hopefully someday.”