Satisfied with their year-old library ebook pilot, Simon & Schuster announced today that they were making their entire catalog of frontlist and backlist titles available as ebooks to all libraries in the US.
As with the pilot, libraries can acquire an ebook under a one-user at a time license which expires after a year. Library patrons can also buy S&S ebooks via the library website, earning libraries a commission on the ebook sales they generate.
Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said in the announcement: "In the year since we first started our pilot, we have been delighted with the response from the participating libraries, and we believe the time is right to make our ebooks available to all libraries."
With ebooks distributed to libraries through 3M Cloud Library, Baker & Taylor Axis360 and Overdrive, S&S was one of the last library ebook hold outs among the major US publishers. It was only last April that they launched a pilot with 3 library systems in NYC, and it took until January 2014 before the pilot was expanded to include an additional 16 libraries, including the Free Library of Philadelphia, Boston Public Library, King County Library System (Wash.), and others.
S&S is not the only major US trade publisher to offer ebooks to libraries on such unfriendly terms. Penguin and HarperCollins sell ebooks under an expiring license. Hachette and Random House, on the other hand, sell ebooks at a steep markup, while Macmillan takes the crown. This publisher manages to combine the worst aspects of their competition by selling ebooks for up to $25 per copy and then having the ebook expire after two years.
image by stevecadman