Two organizations help self-published authors overcome the difficulty they face breaking through the barrier of mainstream competition in order to get their ebooks into libraries. The sheer volume of new ebooks makes it difficult for librarians who are willing to add them to their libraries to read and review all the available new titles.
The first organization, Self-e, a partnership between Library Journal and BiblioBoard, accepts works from authors, reviews them, and vets them before making them available to librarians to select. While this service doesn't get ebooks into bookstores, it can get your works into libraries at the state and even national levels. Librarians can be confident that the books have been vetted by Library Journal. There is no cost for submitting ebooks to Self-e; neither are any royalties paid when a book is checked out.
The second organization, eBooks Are Forever (EAF), approaches the challenge from a different viewpoint. Since ebooks are digital, will never be damaged by careless persons who fold down the corners or write in the margins or even rip the pages, EAF believes libraries should be able to buy ebooks at affordable prices and then own them forever. In addition, they believe libraries should have as many copies of the ebook as they need to make the books available to multiple readers at the same time. Unlike Self-e, authors and publishers will earn royalties from the copies the libraries buy. Authors continue to own the rights to the books and may choose to stop distributing their books through EAF, but copies sold to libraries will remain the property of the libraries.
EAF is a new service, still in its Beta testing phase. Beta testing offers a limited version of a product or offers a product to a limited number of users in order to test the functionality on a wider scale than is possible during the development phase. EAF hopes libraries will buy its entire collection, updating their purchases each month when new titles are available. For this reason, they offer their books at a standard price of $7.99 per book.
Because EAF is in Beta testing, right now participation by authors and publishers is by invitation only. Their future plans include expanding their services. And even during Beta testing, they welcome referrals. For more information, see the FAQs for Authors and Publishers. EAF expects the Beta testing to end with final launch before the end of 2015.
Lest you wonder why getting your ebooks into libraries where they are available to library patrons at no cost, is important, check out this Pew Internet research report, which cites an August 2011 Library Journal report that stated “over 50% of all library users report purchasing books by an author they were introduced to in the library.”
Thanks for Jane Friedman for her post, How Self-Published Authors Can Distribute to Libraries, which introduced me to both organizations mentioned in this article. And remember that you can subscribe to this website - at no cost - so that you will receive notifications of each new post added. For more information, check out this previous post.