OverDrive and Smashwords offering up 200,000 titles to library patrons.
Smashwords already has deals in place with distributors Baker & Taylor Axis 360 and 3M Cloud Library, but the OverDrive deal offers a wider national audience. While most libraries will not be purchasing all 200,000 titles, smaller, independent authors and presses will find a more diverse readership.
Plans are in action to add complete catalogs of the top 100, 500, or 1,000 bestselling tiles. An option to focus on genres, like romance or science fiction, will roll soon as well. The idea is to enhance audiences since Smashwords includes New York Times bestsellers. Digital Book World lists popular, digital indie authors such as Randolph Lalonde, author of the space opera Spinward Fringe series, and Kristen Ashley, author of the popular romance Rock Chick series, as authors who use the service.
Digital Book World offers more information on how the agreement for borrowing will work. A library patron may borrow each eBook copy as many times as desired, or they may buy the book through OverDrive’s “Buy It Now” feature. The feature offers an interactive experience between consumer and publisher. And like traditional print books, the idea of borrowing a book allows a reader the option of reading an author’s booklist, except through digital devices.
OverDrive’s involvement in libraries includes formats for the Nook (Barnes and Noble), Kindle (Amazon), Android (Google), and iPads and iPhones. Nationally, the Cleveland-based distributor connects with 28,000 libraries, schools, and retailers to provide eBooks, digital audiobooks, music, and videos to consumers. OverDrive’s recent additions of in-library touchscreen services, like borrowing or sampling a book, meshes with Smashwords’ own preview function.
As a distributor of self-published eBooks, Smashwords works in part as an agency by offering tools to distribute books in several platforms and pricing manager. The eBook company offers libraries free co-branding publishing portals library patrons the ability to publish and distribute globally.
Library patrons who enjoy digital books will be happy for access to books which have been unobtainable otherwise.
Steven Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive, sees the synergy as a perfect blend of talent and distribution. “OverDrive helps to connect readers with authors and titles, and with Smashwords content, we are offering new voices, great interest and emerging self-published authors, including New York Times and USA Today bestsellers.” Smashword’s founder Mark Coker agrees, adding the commitment of both companies “represents a watershed moment for indie authors, libraries and library patrons around the world.”