Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords, is courting libraries. In a March 23 post on the Smashwords blog, Coker describes his campaign to convince libraries to offer self-publishing programs to their patrons, with, of course, the help of Smashwords. According to the blog post:
Libraries are uniquely qualified to orchestrate community resources and talent to help local writers become professional self-publishers. By holding seminars and classes, and by bringing local authors together face to face with readers and aspiring authors, libraries can help unleash the talent locked inside the minds and fingertips of their local community’s writers. They can also help ensure a steady future supply of library-friendly authors who will want to supply their ebooks to libraries.
Coker suggests very specific ways libraries can help their patrons with the task of publishing their books:
Libraries could develop other workshops as well. A couple of the librarians from Michigan last week suggested to me that they could leverage their new media labs to bring together local graphic artists who could help local authors design ebook covers. What a great idea! And it’s only the tip of the iceberg once libraries start considering how to marshal local talent toward the common objective of helping local writers produce quality books. How about classes on writing, or editing, or cover design? How about connecting local authors with library patrons who’d like to serve as beta readers or proof-readers?
Because the explosion of e-books, both traditionally and self-published, has created a dilemma for libraries as well as authors hoping to get their books in libraries, this plan could offer libraries a way to become involved in self-publishing while supporting both independent authors and library patrons who would like to have access to independently published books. Read more about the program on the Smashwords blog and stay tuned for more on the role of libraries in independent publishing.