Simon & Schuster Open to Selling Ebooks to Libraries in Certain Circumstances

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Simon & Schuster has made an exception to its library ebook sales policy (basically, that it doesn’t sell ebooks to libraries) to sell ebook editions of The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson via OverDrive starting Jan. 1.

The change was prompted by The Iowa Center for the Book which has picked the title to be its All Iowa Reads book for 2013. Part of the criteria for the selection was that it be made available as an ebook at libraries, according to Simon & Schuster spokesperson Adam Rothberg.

“It doesn’t signal a policy change but it does indicate that we can be flexible where circumstances merit,” said Rothberg, adding the Simon & Schuster is currently in talks with members of the library community about its library ebook policy.

This title is now the second ebook Simon & Schuster sells to libraries. The late Ray Bradbury allowed the publisher to produce the ebook version of Fahrenheit 451 but only if the it was available to libraries.

Wendy Sheanin, a marketing director at Simon & Schuster, championed the idea internally of Simon & Schuster making an exception on its library ebook policy for The Year We Left Home so that it could be chosen.

“This is not our policy as a general rule, but I’ve spoken to my colleagues about the impact of The Year We Left Home being chosen for All Iowa Reads and how that is an important component,” Sheanin told Iowa Center for the Book.

The Iowa Center for the Book worked closely with Sheanin to make the ebook available.

“When we found out that Simon & Schuster did not sell ebooks to libraries, my heart sank. We were on a mission from that day forward,” All Iowa Reads committee member Robin Martin told Iowa Center for the Book.

The title needed to be available as an ebook so that it was more accessible to more readers, specifically people who may have trouble reading the small print in the paperback edition. With an e-reader, the size of the font can be adjusted. There isn’t currently a large-print edition of the title.

To get Simon & Schuster to agree to the idea, the Iowa Center for the Book had to answer the publisher’s questions, including how many copies of the book are sold in conjunction with the program, how many loans the book selection leads to and the names of past titles selected for the program.

Hat-tip to infoDOCKET for letting us know about this story.

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