Hachette is offering new e-books to some libraries

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Hachette, which has not made new e-books available to libraries since 2010, is reconsidering the idea. In a pilot program starting this spring (which is…now?), the publisher is working with two e-book distributors to bring a “selection of HBG’s recent bestselling e-books to 7 million library patrons.”

Hachette would not confirm which distributors or libraries it is working with — whether it is partnering with leading digital distributor OverDrive and/or with an OverDrive competitor like 3M Cloud Library or Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360.

“These pilot programs will help us learn more about library patrons’ interests, usage, and expectations,” Hachette said in a statement. “This information will help HBG devise the best strategy to reach the widest audience of e-book readers in libraries. We’ll have more to say once we have looked at the data from the pilots.”

3M’s Matt Tempelis did not verify that the company was working with Hachette but told me, “We are actively working with big-six publishers not fully engaged in library to find models that work for all parties. We have been making great progress towards those ends with several. I am not able to share any specifics at this time, but expect more details will be available very shortly.”

Random House is the only big-six publisher to offer unrestricted access to its titles, though it sharply increased the prices of e-books for libraries this spring. Penguin recently ended its relationship with OverDrive and will no longer distribute e-books and digital audiobooks to libraries — at least until it finds a new partner. Macmillan and Simon & Schuster do not make e-books available to libraries. HarperCollins allows e-books to be checked out 26 times before the library has to buy a new copy.

via American Libraries magazine

Photo courtesy of Ian Barbour on Flickr

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