WASHINGTON—On the first day of its 2014 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, the American Library Association (ALA) welcomes news (pdf) from Simon & Schuster that it will convert its pilot library ebook lending program to serve all U.S. libraries. ALA President Barbara Stripling released the following statement:
“Today represents an important milestone for improving the ability of libraries to serve the public in the digital age. America’s libraries are the quintessential institution in connecting authors and readers. We have always known that library lending encourages patrons to experiment by sampling new authors, topics and genres. This experimentation stimulates the market for books—with the library serving as a critical de facto discovery, promotion and awareness service for authors and publishers.
“In early 2012, ALA began conversations with Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy and her leadership team. In our initial meeting in New York, it was clear that we had rather different perspectives on the merits of library ebook lending. Of course, much has changed in the past two years, and we’re so pleased that Simon & Schuster has moved library ebook lending from a pilot to a mainstream business for the company.
“The Simon & Schuster development is a welcome acknowledgment of our advocacy, the importance of the library market, and the key role of libraries in the nation’s communities. ALA looks forward to continuing discussions with authors, authors’ representatives, publishers, distributors, and retailers to create new opportunities to support a healthy reading ecosystem for the digital age. Let’s celebrate today’s progress, but also be mindful that a long and winding road remains ahead of us.”
Simon & Schuster now sells ebook titles to libraries for one year from the date of purchase and includes a “Buy It Now” capability for patron purchase through the ebook distributor, with a portion of proceeds from each sale going to the library. The ALA Annual Conference takes place in Las Vegas, June 26–July 1, 2014, and brings together more than 20,000 librarians to discuss critical issues facing libraries and their communities. Particular issues relating to library ebook lending at the national level is the subject of the conference session “ALA and Moving Ahead with Digital Content,” which takes place on Saturday, June 28, 2014, from 1–2:30 p.m. in room N255 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.