Consortia, Buy It Now, and Simon & Schuster

June 26, 2014

Today’s announcement (PDF file) that Simon & Schuster is making it possible for all public libraries to acquire its ebook content is welcome news. S&S had been the major holdout among the biggest publishers.

Especially welcome is S&S’s endorsement of library consortia as customers for its ebooks, confirmed by Adam Rothberg, senior vice president, corporate communications at Simon & Schuster. The January 2014 pilot project included a few consortia and apparently the publisher was happy with the results. Since many libraries develop their collections in a consortium environment, it is critically important that ebooks be licensed to consortia. 

Rothberg also confirmed that S&S requires libraries carrying its ebooks to offer patrons a Buy It Now button in the library catalog. While the library receives a share of the patron purchase price, not all libraries are comfortable with this sales option. Some difficult decisions lie ahead.

S&S would not comment on cost, but I understand via Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries that S&S ebooks are priced between the consumer ebook price and the consumer hardcover list price. Libraries license these ebooks for 52 weeks and then must renew the license or let it expire.

An updated Big Six Ebooks Terms chart is now available (Word file).

ROBERT C. MAIER is a member of ALA’s Digital Content Working Group.