And that's where BiblioBoard and Library Journal come in. Today they are announcing the launch of Self-e, a new discovery service that is designed to help librarians find good self-published ebooks.
Using Self-e’s submission portal, authors can submit their self-published ebooks for review by Library Journal. The ebooks will be put through a comprehensive curation process where LJ will evaluate and select the most interesting titles. The ebooks will be made available to libraries via BiblioBoard in curated genre collections that participating public libraries can make available to their patrons all over the United States.
This is as much a distribution deal as it is discovery, so I think it is worth noting that this is not quite the same deal as what Smashwords and OverDrive announced earlier this week. BiblioBoard operates under ReadersFirst principles, which in this case means that the ebooks will be available to library patrons without limit or the need to check out or return a title.
As a user, I like this plan, but this might not appeal to all authors. Fortunately Self-e is nonexclusive, giving authors the option of also distributing through Smashwords or other platforms.
There's no cost to the author, and any title not accepted for the curated collections can still be submitted for the localized state modules with other local authors. Library Journal will not curate these modules, but will be offering them in order to provide libraries with an opportunity to highlight ebooks by local authors.
Self-e is available today, and the first collections are set to be released early next year.