Shatzkin: Publishers Should Experiment With E-Book Library Lending

In his new blog post today, Mike Shatzkin suggests that major publishers should experiment with e-book library lending to try to find a profitable way to do it.

Last week, at the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers, New York Public Library CEO Dr. Anthony Marx suggested that publishers work with his library system to try discrete e-book lending experiments.

From Shatzkin’s blog post (Thinking more about ebooks and libraries and what big publishers should do):

If any big publisher asked me for an opinion about a library policy (and none has), this is what I’d say today.

1. Start immediately experimenting with “baskets” of titles, because the data on sales trends for a group of titles will be far more reliable than on any single title. If titles are put into groupings of cohorts (fiction in a genre, topical non-fiction, big author brands), you increase your chances of getting data that lends itself to interpretation that enable useful adjustments in tactics.

2. One set of experiments that should be productive would be on titles that have already had their high-volume run. Put 10 or 20 of those titles into library distribution and look at their print and ebook sales results week-by-week for the period before and then after the library release. (And promote the library release to maximize the potential impact.

Read the rest of his points at

One thought on “Shatzkin: Publishers Should Experiment With E-Book Library Lending

  1. Jason Aydelotte

    Grey Gecko is currently working to get our books into libraries in this fashion. We’ve contacted the Douglas County Library system in Colorado, who are developing a system for purchasing ebooks in the same way you would a print book, and adding DRM to them. This includes a click-through so the reader can buy their own copy.

    Add in the Califa group of 220 libraries in California, who are working with Jamie LaRue and his team in Douglas County to implement a similar system, and the New York Public Libraries, who are reaching out to publishers to find new methods….

    Well, it’s an exciting time to be a publisher who has the flexibility and innovative drive to work with this very important part of our culture.



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