Simon & Schuster is joining the other big-six publishing houses in diving into selling ebooks to libraries for lending to patrons.
In a pilot announced today, The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Public Library will have available to them for purchase Simon & Schuster’s entire catalog of ebooks. Each ebook will be available to be lent to patrons for one year. The ebooks will be available for borrowing one at a time for an unlimited amount of times during the year. The libraries will also offer patrons the ability to buy ebooks through the library portal through vendor BiblioCommons. Ebooks will be available to libraries as soon as they are available to customers.
“We are delighted to partner with these libraries, which have shown an extraordinary willingness to try innovative models with the potential to be a long-term solution for all involved,” said Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy in a statement. “In making our full list available we think we will get a better sense of lending patterns and patron behavior, and I am particularly eager to start seeing the actual data so that we can better understand this still-new phenomenon.”
If the pilot is successful, it will be rolled out to other libraries, according to a statement from the company. Library ebook vendor 3M will power the technology behind the pilot; 3M also powered Penguin’s similar library pilot, which was recently expanded nationwide.
“We are pleased Simon & Schuster has recognized the vital roles of libraries in supporting reading in all its formats by announcing a library e-lending pilot in New York City,” said American Library Association president Maureen Sullivan in a separate statement. “We hope that Simon & Schuster will extend its pilot to libraries beyond New York City in the near future.”
Prior to this announcement, Macmillan was the latest big publisher to experiment with library ebook lending.
Before opening up its entire catalog to this limited set of libraries, Simon & Schuster had exactly two titles that it had sold to libraries: The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The former as part of a state-wide reading program in Iowa and the latter due to the author’s request.
With this move, Simon & Schuster joins other large publishers Macmillan, Hachette and Penguin, which both have ebook lending pilots. Two of the other big publishers, HarperCollins and Random House, make their books available to libraries.
Most other publishers sell their ebooks to libraries, but that generally goes unreported.
SIMON & SCHUSTER AND NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC LIBRARIES PARTNER FOR EBOOK PILOT PROGRAM
Publisher to Make Complete List of Titles Eligible for Libraries’ Digital Collections
Innovative Business Model Offers Patrons Option to Directly Purchase eBooks and Support their Local Library
Simon & Schuster, together with The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Library, announced today a one-year pilot program under which the publishing company’s complete catalog of ebooks will be made available to the libraries. Beginning April 30th, The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library will have access to such beloved classic favorites and current bestsellers as The Great Gatsby, Lonesome Dove, Team of Rivals, Steve Jobs, The Glass Castle, Still Alice, The Road Less Traveled, The Coldest Winter Ever, Clockwork Princess, Misty of Chincoteague and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The Queens Library pilot expected to begin in mid-May.
The participating libraries can acquire any Simon & Schuster ebook title at any time during the pilot’s one-year term, with each title usable for one year from the date of purchase. Each library can offer an unlimited number of checkouts during the one-year term for which it has purchased a copy; each copy may only be checked out by one user at a time. All of Simon & Schuster’s frontlist and backlist titles that are available as ebooks are eligible for the program, with new titles being made available simultaneous with their publication.
As part of this pilot, The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library are offering patrons the option to purchase a copy of Simon & Schuster eBooks from within the libraries’ online portals. Since the libraries will receive a share of the proceeds from each sale, this new service offers patrons the opportunity to support their local library, particularly for popular new titles with long waiting lists.
If successful, the program could be implemented with other library systems across the United States.
“We have always recognized the important place of libraries in our communities. They play a vital role in fostering and encouraging reading in every strata of our society, and they help to create an audience for our books and authors,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster. “We are delighted to partner with these libraries, which have shown an extraordinary willingness to try innovative models with the potential to be a long-term solution for all involved. In making our full list available we think we will get a better sense of lending patterns and patron behavior, and I am particularly eager to start seeing the actual data so that we can better understand this still-new phenomenon.”
“This is a path breaking step that will ensure that as ebook readership grows our citizens can enjoy access to books akin to what the library has always provided,” says New York Public Library President Tony Marx. “Publishers win by growing their audience and readers win with more ebooks to borrow.”
“Our fundamental mission as a public library is expanding access to knowledge. Our new partnership with Simon & Schuster will help us accomplish just that by dramatically increasing the number of ebooks we offer. We are thrilled to be working with one of the largest and most well-regarded publishers, and look forward to making available ebooks from all of their imprints to the many Brooklynites who wish to read them,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library.
“As our users increasingly turn to digital media, public libraries need to be poised and ready to serve their needs with a range of digital materials including ebooks and loanable e-readers,” said Queens Library President and CEO Thomas W. Galante. “This bold new program is an important step in the right direction. It not only gives our customers access to some of the hottest titles; it also offers an innovation to allow patrons to purchase titles and support the library at the same time. It’s a win for everyone.”
For The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Library, 3M will support the lending of Simon & Schuster titles and BiblioCommons will power the purchase experience. Baker & Taylor will support both the lending and the purchase experience for Queens Library.
ABOUT SIMON & SCHUSTER
Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com
ABOUT THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 91 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.
ABOUT BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY:
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website: www.bklynpubliclibrary.org.
ABOUT QUEENS LIBRARY
Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the U.S. and has among the highest circulations of any public library system in the world. For more information about programs, services, locations, events and news, visit the Queens Library web site at www.queenslibrary.org or phone 718-990-0700.