Digital self-publishing site Smashwords is making its ebooks available to more libraries through a partnership with Overdrive, the country’s largest digital library distributor. Through the partnership, Overdrive library clients — the company works with about 28,000 libraries and schools worldwide — will be able to purchase about 200,000 ebooks by 88,000 Smashwords authors and lend them out to their patrons.
Smashwords is not a stranger to libraries: It already has deals with distributors Baker & Taylor Axis 360 and 3M Cloud Library, as well as with regional library systems like Colorado’s Douglas County. Because so many libraries work with Overdrive, however, and because Overdrive supports Kindle e-readers while its competitors do not, this partnership has the potential to bring Smashwords authors’ titles in front of more readers globally.
Two hundred thousand titles is a lot and most libraries won’t be purchasing nearly all of them. For libraries that want to purchase titles and aren’t sure where to start, Smashwords and Overdrive are creating curated collections of Smashwords’ bestselling titles: As the release explains, “Libraries will soon have the option…to purchase the complete catalog of the top 100, 500 or 1,000 bestselling Smashwords authors. Smashwords will also produce curated buy-lists by genre, such as the top 1,000 bestselling Smashwords romance titles, or the top 1,000 bestselling mysteries and thrillers.”
Smashwords CEO Mark Coker told me that there’s “lots of fun stuff we can do down the line to make it easy for libraries to purchase the most popular indie titles,” so that even if librarians aren’t familiar with the Smashwords authors — who are not household names even if they’re well-known among particular audiences — they can add to their collections.