OverDrive and Smashwords Ink Deal to Distribute Indie Author Ebooks to Libraries

[Press Release]

Smashwords and OverDrive in Worldwide eBook Distribution Agreement

200,000 eBooks from 80,000 indie authors and small independent presses
to be available through OverDrive’s global library network
OverDrive, the world’s largest library eBook platform, and Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of self-published eBooks, today announced that 200,000 self-published titles will be available for public libraries in OverDrive’s global network.

The Smashwords catalog features the world’s bestselling indie authors, including numerous New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. The Smashwords catalog is especially strong in popular genre fiction, particularly romance, mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

“This agreement with OverDrive represents a watershed moment for indie authors, libraries and library patrons around the world,” said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. “Smashwords authors now have distribution through OverDrive, the premiere supplier of library eBooks. Millions of library patrons will now have access to the amazing literary talent of the world’s best indie authors.”

“We’re thrilled to make the Smashwords catalog available to libraries and patrons in the OverDrive network,” said Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive. “OverDrive helps to connect readers with authors and titles, and with Smashwords content, we are offering new voices, great interest and emerging self-published authors, including New York Times
and USA Today bestsellers.”

To streamline collection development, OverDrive and Smashwords are creating curated lists of Smashwords bestsellers and popular genres. Libraries will soon have the option, for example, to purchase the complete catalog of the top 100, 500 or 1,000 bestselling Smashwords authors. Smashwords will also produce curated buy-lists by genre, such
as the top 1,000 bestselling Smashwords romance titles, or the top 1,000 bestselling mysteries and thrillers.

Under this agreement, readers may borrow each eBook an unlimited number of times on a one copy/one user model on a perpetual basis. Alternately, patrons can purchase the eBook from the library website and support their local libraries through OverDrive’s “Buy It Now” feature. Readers are also able to recommend titles to their library from the Smashwords catalog. Smashwords’ full Premium Catalog of non-erotica titles is eligible for the program, including new releases.

Among the Smashwords authors planning to provide their full indie catalogs to Overdrive include Amy Miles, Brian S. Pratt, Chanda Hahn, Colleen Hoover, GJ Walker-Smith, Jamie McGuire, JD Nixon, Kirsty Moseley, Kristen Ashley, Lauren Blakely, Melody Grace, Natasha Preston, Quinn Loftis, R.L. Mathewson, Randolph Lalonde, Shayne Parkinson and T C Southwell.


About OverDrive
OverDrive is a leading multichannel digital distributor of eBooks, digital audiobooks, music and video on a single platform. OverDrive supplies a secure lending platform for 28,000 libraries, schools and retailers worldwide with support for all major computers and devices, including iPhone®, iPad®, Nook®, Android™ phones and tablets, and Kindle® (U.S. only). Recent enhancements to OverDrive’s platform include multilingual user interface support, eReading Rooms for kids and teens, in-library touchscreen services for browsing and instant sampling of eBooks or audiobooks, and OverDrive Read, the company’s EPUB and HTML5 browser-based reading experience. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland. www.OverDrive.com.

About Smashwords
Founded in 2008, privately held Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of self-published eBooks. Smashwords has helped more than 90,000 authors, independent publishers and literary agents release more than 300,000 titles. Smashwords authors gain free access to a full suite of professional publishing tools including multi-format eBook
conversion; centralized metadata management; preorder distribution to iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo; Series Manager for enhanced series discovery, Pricing Manager for simplified price changes and custom library pricing, and rapid distribution to a growing network of global retail and library partners. Smashwords distributes its titles worldwide
to iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Oyster, the Smashwords.com store and to public libraries via library aggregators such as OverDrive. Smashwords provides public libraries with free co-branded publishing portals that allow library patrons to publish locally and distribute globally. Learn how to publish and distribute with Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords .

7 thoughts on “OverDrive and Smashwords Ink Deal to Distribute Indie Author Ebooks to Libraries

  1. Michael W. Perry

    As usual, Mark Croker has made a good move for independent authors.

    I only wish OverDrive had the good sense to develop an alternative payment scheme. Requiring a library to buy each title they loan out isn’t that great for large library systems and it’s difficult for smaller ones. It also limits the checkouts to one reader at at time.

    Much better, would be a modest pay-per-checkout charge. Libraries would not have to buy an ebook just for one patron. Smashwords entire author collection would be available in every library. Groups of patrons could check out and read a book together. And most authors would come out ahead to, since their books would be available for checkout in every OverDrive library. Small payments per checkout are likely to mean more money than a single, larger payment for a purchase that never happens. It’s also likely to result in a steadier, month-by-month income.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

  2. James S.

    Mark, the big problem with “pay per download” with libraries are that we work on fixed budgets. Trying to accommodate an unknown variable into a limited budget would not find many takers. The “one copy out per time” isn’t a perfect model but it’s a decent compromise given the alternatives that publishers would certainly like to impose on us.

  3. Karen w.

    This is great news for independent authors and library patrons.
    Now if we can get Smashwords/Overdrive to help distribute independently produced audio books, that would be the icing in the cake.

  4. Meg

    I may be blind, but I don’t see how to get my books into the Overdrive catalog. I have six books all in Smashwords’s premium catalog. Does that mean they’re all available to libraries through Overdrive automatically, or do I have to do something special to get them in there?

  5. Gene Grossman

    I’m an author with more than 40 ebook titles with Smashwords, 20 of which are the popular Peter Sharp Legal Mystery Series, and I’ve instructed Smashwords to ‘opt me out’ of their arrangement with OverDrive’s library network because people being able to read my eBook titles free for eternity do not motivate me to participate.

    Many patrons handling print books ultimately result in deterioration and cause a library to re-order, but not being physical items, eBooks can have a infinite life – and that’s the end. They will never have to re-order replacements, and their readers will do nothing but decrease sales of my titles through competing non-free distribution sources that Smashwords also sells my titles to.

    I know and respect Mark Coker, but feel that he is doing a disservice to his many thousands of authors, and will ultimately also hurt commercial associates in his distribution chain, who all must now face the daunting task of competing with thousands of libraries who are now ‘giving away’ the products that those associated distributors also handle.

    I may not be a business genius, but it seems to me that it’s not such a good idea to sell the exact same products to both non-profit libraries who will give the product away free, and also to commercial re-sellers that depend on sales income for their survival. This may present your authors with a one-time bump in sales, but may ultimately result in lower royalty sales in the long run. In essence, Smashwords is effectively turning current titles into public domain titles.

    Smashwords might as well have sent its entire library to the Gutenberg Project, eliminated Overdrive as the middle-man, and turned all of its hundreds of thousand the titles into perpetual ‘freebies.’

    Gene Grossman – http://www.LegalMystery.com

  6. Laurel

    Gene, I think you are very confused about how ebooks work at public libraries. Nothing is free for anyone. Patrons must have a library card, which means they have to be a tax-paying resident of the service area, the libraries pay both for the ebook service and for each title (often for much more than what an ebook would cost for a regular individual), and in the case of Overdrive, they do not even own the ebooks, they are simply leased for however long the library can afford the service (which is very expensive). Perhaps you should do some research on how libraries aid in discovery of authors before declaring us your enemy.

  7. Wendy

    How realistic is it to say OverDrive will actually get any Indie title in front of a buying librarian’s face? I understood that the Smashwords and Indie author books are ‘segregated’ into a ‘ghetto’ and not really presented as an option UNLESS the librarian knows the title by name and looks for it.
    To say ‘it will be offered to the libraries’ is quite different than saying it will be on a page where it can actually be ‘seen’ with all the other titles.



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