Macmillan will begin lending e-books to libraries

Ebooks

Above, the Kindle 3 e-reader. Macmillan will begin its pilot program for lending e-books to libraries by the end of the first quarter of 2013. (Associated Press photo)

Last year, I reported an article on York County Libraries’ e-book purchases. What I found surprised me — that of the “big six” publishers, York County Libraries was able to purchase new e-book titles from just two: HarperCollins and Random House.

Three others — Macmillan, Hachette and Penguin — were engaged in or had committed to pilot programs to test e-book lending. Simon & Schuster would not sell e-books to libraries at all.

This week, Macmillan announced it would begin its two-year library lending pilot by the end of March. It’s a project that’s been a long time coming: Macmillan had first announced the pilot in September 2012.

Under the two-year pilot, libraries using OverDrive, 3M and Axis 360 distributors could purchase more than 1,200 backlist titles from the Minotaur imprint, which handles mysteries and crime fiction.

As York County Libraries Manager of Collections Lora-Lynn Kahler noted in an email, the pilot does not include access to new releases.

“We can share their e-books 52 times or for two years before we would have to purchase them again,” Kahler wrote. All titles would cost $25 each, according to an OverDrive PR representative.

What does it mean for York County cardholders? That remains to be seen, as OverDrive — the e-book distributor YCLS uses — hasn’t “announced the availability for customers yet,” Kahler explained.

But for e-book users looking for more titles from their library, it would seem to be good news. The terms are tough, of course, and unlike print copies, libraries would be licensing the e-books rather than purchasing them outright.

American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan released a statement Jan. 24:

“I am so pleased Macmillan Publishers is beginning to sell e-books to America’s libraries so that we may connect their authors and our readers in the digital age. This is a welcome acknowledgment of our advocacy and the importance of the library market.”

She continued, “While today’s announcement is only a first step, we look forward to the release of more details about the pilot and continuing work together to bring even more Macmilllan e-titles to libraries in the future.”

Do you borrow e-books from your local library? Have you wished for more or different titles? Or have you been satisfied with the eBranch’s offerings?

More:
York County Libraries face e-book challenges because of publishers’ restrictions
Libraries still vital, Pew report finds — and why it matters
Could you receive part of a $69M payment to e-book consumers?

About Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.
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One Response to Macmillan will begin lending e-books to libraries

  1. Pingback: Book Buzz | Macmillan settles anti-trust lawsuit over e-book pricing

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