Penguin is reportedly selling ebooks to libraries on the same day that the hardcover book comes out, according to a report by the Associated Press. A Penguin spokesperson has confirmed the story to Digital Book World.
For about six months in 2012, Penguin wasn’t selling ebooks to libraries at all; in Feb., it had cut ties with library ebook distributor OverDrive. In the Summer, it started a pilot with the New York Public Library and ebook library distributor 3M. In Oct., the company rolled out its ebook program to all of 3Ms 70 or so library systems across the U.S.
However, the program had stipulations that raised the ire of librarians, notably that Penguin would not sell newly released ebooks to libraries — they would have to wait six months before they could buy them — and that ebook copies would wear out after a year and librarians who wanted to continue to stock them would have to re-purchase them at that time.
Now, reportedly, that first stipulation is being discarded. “We are encouraged by Penguin’s willingness to experiment, make adjustments and move forward with libraries and our millions of readers,” American Library Association president Maureen Sullivan said in a statement obtained by the AP.
“Penguin is proud to make all of our ebooks available to library patrons. After careful examination of our pilot programs, we are ready to take the next step and offer what consumers and libraries have been asking for, thus fulfilling our mission to bring new writers to readers,” said Tim McCall, who is responsible for Penguin’s library ebook sales as vice president of online sales and marketing.
Now that Penguin is lending ebooks to libraries, along with Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Hachette (the latter two are both involved in pilot programs currently), Simon & Schuster is the only so-called big-six publisher not to have a robust library ebook program.