The last holdout from the major trade publishers, Simon & Schuster, this morning announced the start of an ebook pilot (PDF file) with New York City public libraries. The program, which launches April 30, will make all “frontlist and backlist titles that are available as ebooks” available to libraries “simultaneous with their publication.”
“We have always recognized the important place of libraries in our communities. They play a vital role in fostering and encouraging reading in every strata of our society, and they help to create an audience for our books and authors,” said Carolyn Reidy, president and chief executive officer of Simon & Schuster. “We are delighted to partner with these libraries, which have shown an extraordinary willingness to try innovative models with the potential to be a long-term solution for all involved. In making our full list available we think we will get a better sense of lending patterns and patron behavior, and I am particularly eager to start seeing the actual data so that we can better understand this still-new phenomenon.”
Under the pilot, the ebooks will be licensed on a one-year basis with no checkout limit, though they are restricted to single-user access. Like Penguin, the Simon & Schuster pilot has eschewed OverDrive in favor of 3M (for NYPL and Brooklyn) and Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 (for Queens).
ALA President Maureen Sullivan has commended Simon & Schuster’s long-awaited foray.