Publishers Warming to Library Ebook Lending

By Jamie W. RSS Thu, May 2, 2013

See update to this story (10/2/2013)

Yesterday, we were pleased to learn that Hachette, one of the “Big 6” publishers in the United States, will now sell their full catalog of ebook titles to public libraries beginning May 8th. Until now, Hachette had limited libraries to a small selection of backlist titles.  This is good news for ebook lovers. Hachette will give our readers access to ebooks by David Baldacci, Sara Zarr, Sandra Brown, James Patterson, David Sedaris, and Kate Atkinson, among others.

In related news, Tony Marx, the CEO of the New York Public Library, published an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday about the state of library ebook lending. In it, he discussed a pilot project with Simon & Schuster whereby New York libraries will offer their ebooks for loan.  While this does not directly impact us here in Philadelphia, it is important to acknowledge this step by another major publisher. 

These developments mark the first time that some content by all of the Big 6 American book publishers will offer their digital titles to libraries.  For those who’ve followed this story on our blog and elsewhere, this is surely welcome news. While we still have a way to go before we can enjoy the full access and sensible pricing terms that libraries and you deserve, it is worth remembering that publishers also face intense pressures in this new digital environment and we applaud their recent efforts.

Here’s a recap of where we stand with each of the Big 6 publishers:

Hachette – Full ebook catalog available to libraries.

Random House – Full ebook catalog available to libraries.

Harper Collins – Full ebook catalog available to libraries.

Penguin – Titles purchased before February, 2012 are still available through libraries that use the Overdrive ebook platform, but new titles and best sellers are available only to a limited number of libraries through a pilot program with the 3M and Axis 360 ebook platforms.

Simon & Schuster – Full catalog available to New York libraries through a pilot program.

Macmillan – Offers a limited selection of their ebook to all libraries.

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