October 30, 2014

Simon & Schuster Launches Ebook Lending Program With NYC Libraries

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Simon & Schuster, the last remaining holdout among the Big Six publishers when it comes to library ebook lending, announced today it was launching a program with New York City libraries. The text of the press release follows and this story will update as more information becomes available:

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.

 

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Michael Kelley About Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley is the former Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal.

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