Penguin Group today announced that it will be changing the terms on its library ebook lending program, and on Tuesday, April 2, will begin allowing libraries to purchase and lend ebook titles the day that hardcover editions are released, according to The Associated Press. Previously, Penguin had placed a six month embargo on new ebooks, requiring libraries to wait half a year before purchasing.
“I am pleased to learn that Penguin’s pilot is confirming what research suggests and librarians believe: There is more to be gained than lost when publishers work with libraries,” American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan said in a statement to the AP. “We are encouraged by Penguin’s willingness to experiment, make adjustments and move forward with libraries and our millions of readers.”
It has been a busy year for Penguin on the ebook lending front. In February 2012, the publisher terminated its contract with OverDrive. Four months later, Penguin announced a pilot project with the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the 3M’s new Cloud Library ebook platform. The pilot officially launched on October 1, and by November 13, Penguin had expanded the program, allowing all of 3M’s Cloud Library customers to purchase Penguin ebook titles. A few days later, the publisher announced that its ebook content would also be available on Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 platform.
With the purchase embargo lifted, Penguin’s other lending terms remain the same. Libraries can purchase titles at prices comparable to retail, and circulate each purchased copy to one patron at a time for one year. After one year, the titles will expire, regardless of checkout frequency. Penguin’s Director of Online Sales and Marketing Tim McCall confirmed to the AP that prices would not be raised as a result of the change to the embargo period.