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Streetlib Now Distributes eBooks to OverDrive’s 33,000 Libraries

17226857438_9f05c0b705_hMove over, Smashwords, there’s a new way for indie authors to get their books into libraries. Starting 15 September, Italy-based ebook distributor StreetLib will be supplying indie titles to OverDrive, the leading library ebook distributor.

StreetLib is a relatively unknown distributor which has only crossed my desk once (in reference to the related bookstore platform). It’s a multi-lingual aggregator which supports 8 languages on its interface and distributes to Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Google Play Books, Tolino, Bookmate, and many more.

Along with Vearso and eBookPartnership, Streetlib is one of only a handful of distributors that support Google Play Books, and now Streetlib is joining a different select group of distributors that can get your ebook into OverDrive’s 33,000 partner libraries across 50 countries.

Mark Williams beat me to the story, and he’s thrilled by the news. It sounds like he’s looking forward to dropping Smashwords:

With Flipkart gone, the OverDrive libraries distribution option was one of the few reasons left to be putting titles into Smashwords.

But last month I spent far too much time trying to upload titles to Smashwords only to see them rejected straight away, sat waiting days to be approved (the exact same title would be selling on Apple in hours through Draft2Digital) or rejected days later after review. Titles with validated epubs that Smashwords rejects, yet that somehow manage to sail through Draft2Digital and into the exact same stores Smashwords says won’t accept them.

And not only is Smashwords more of a hassle, it also generates less revenue. Smashwords pays 48% of the retail price for each ebook sold to a library, while Streetlib pays considerably more.

Streetlib mentioned in their blog post that each time a library in the EU or Switzerland buys a book, the author will get %60 of the list price. Each time a library outside the region purchases a book, the author will get 40% of the list price.

Forty percent is less than 48%, but if Streetlib manages to avoid the Smashwords self-pub ghetto then authors are bound to sell more copies and make more money.

Streetlib via eBookBargainsUK

image by maguay

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fjtorres September 1, 2015 um 3:17 pm

That is a big IF though.
The ghetto appears to be more of an Overdrive policy than Smashwords'.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) September 1, 2015 um 3:27 pm

And meanwhile it’s another powder puff to chase. There comes a point where an author just has to give up on some avenues. Okay, to be fair, there’s a point where I’ve given up chasing some avenues.

Mark Williams September 1, 2015 um 3:36 pm

The last thing I want to do is drop Smashwords – diversity of distributors is as important as diversity of retailers – and what I have managed to get through will stay there.

But I now have to go to Xin-Xii for Flipkart as Mark Coker is penalising indies with global aspirations because Flipkart isn’t responding fast enough to indies wanting to go into Select. Not good news.

D2D can get my titles into Apple in hours. It can take days through Smashwords, always assuming you get through the demands of the Premium catalogue.

With StreetLib one of the few easy ways into Google Play (StreetLib titles still go through despite the self-pub portal being closed), and D2D offering Scribd, Oyster and Page Foundry along with Apple (and Kobo and Nook if needed), plus Tolino, it means Smashwords is now another rung lower on the priority upload ladder.

And that’s a real shame, because Mark Coker has been one of the leaders of the self-publishing movement.

Smashwords deserves our continued support. But other aggregators are forging ahead.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) September 1, 2015 um 5:01 pm

Mark/Smashwords isn’t penalizing indies. Customer Support from Flipkart is nonexistent. Putting a book up there via smash or taking it down is a crap shoot. Flipkart is penalizing indies by not responding at all to direct requests and not responding to Smashwords requests.

WL Emery September 1, 2015 um 5:48 pm

It took me forever to get my book formatted for SmashWords, and then the sales were almost nonexistent. SmashWords takes too long to distribute the book, and the formatting requirements are obstructive, but the big point was sales vs. aggravation. I dropped SmashWords and am strictly on Amazon now. StreetLib looks like it may be a viable addition to publishing on Amazon.

Mark Williams September 1, 2015 um 10:14 pm

@Maria – Smashwords IS penalizing us. I have no intention of whipping title sin and out of other retailers every five minutes to go in ad out of Select. My titles go into Flipkart and stay there. Now I will do that via Xin-Xii or Ebook Partnership because Mark Coker has decided we must all lose the Flipkart option.

All Coker has to do is put a clear statement on the Smashwords distribution panel advising indies that if they go into Flipkart the response time for requested changes will be slower than on other retailers. That way indies who plan on retailer-hopping can opt out of Flipkart, or give more notice.

Instead the option to get into Flipkart through Smashwords has been taken away.

AC de Fombelle September 2, 2015 um 3:53 am

Hello Nate and many thanks for the article!
From our contract with OverDrive, I can confirm that our self publishers are to be treated exactly like other publishers so they shouldn’t end up in the "guetto".
Of course, we’ll have to wait to see what OverDrive ends up doing but, if it happens, we’ll try to fight it because that’s the last thing we want.

Thanks again


Nate Hoffelder September 2, 2015 um 6:59 am

Hi AC,

Yes, we’re going to have to wait until the ebooks show up in OverDrive (that’s why I left the question open).

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