JA Konrath Reveals Initiative to Get Indie eBooks into Libraries

Ebooks are Forever

Big news from JA Konrath’s blog. He’s created a site and service called EbooksareForever to aid both libraries and authors in stocking indie titles. From his blog post:

For the past year, my business partner, August Wainwright, and I have been talking to acquisitions librarians across the country, and they crave an alternative to the status quo. These libraries are looking to buy thousands of ebooks at once in order to best serve their patrons and community.

Their main wish is to be treated fairly – which means they want to own the ebooks they purchase, acquire good content at a reasonable price, and have access to as many copies as they need.

Our solution? Give libraries what they’re asking for, and in a way that gives libraries the sustainable purchasing model they deserve. We’re striving to offer a large, curated collection of popular ebooks that libraries can easily purchase with just one click.

We currently have just under 1000 ebooks in our collection, with more being added daily.

And we want to include your titles as well…

EbooksAreForever distributes to libraries at $7.99 for full length novels, and $3.99-$4.99 for shorter works. We’re offering 70% royalties to the author, and the library will have the ability to purchase more copies as needed.

The way this works is that if a library wants to allow 3 patrons to borrow your ebook at any given time, they’d need to have purchased 3 “copies”. Most libraries adhere to a strict hold ratio (usually around 3:1) in order to present patrons with the best user experience possible. Our hope is that by making ebooks both affordable and sustainable, then libraries in response will automatically purchase more copies.

So, if you have a catalog of 10 ebooks that we then distribute to 1000 libraries, you’ve just earned $56,000 in royalties from making your books available to the library marketplace if they each buy one copy. If your titles are popular, they’ll buy more copies and you’ll earn more.

One concern is the ability of authors to continue having exclusivity with Kindle Select and still be part of the program. So far, Amazon does not see libraries as a competitor, as they are not a retail space. Konrath adds in a comment:

Amazon is aware I’m doing this.

So far, Amazon doesn’t seem to care.

Will they care at some point in the future? I’ve had titles in Overdrive and KDP Select for years and had no issues. Amazon doesn’t seem to consider the library market to be competition.

Now Amazon has spiders, or some other programs, searching the Internet for titles that are in KDP Select to make sure they are exclusive and not on Nook or Kobo or iTunes or whatever.

EbooksAreForever is a private site. Its catalog isn’t available to the public, unless the person registers. In theory, Amazon’s bots can’t find the catalog.

Will it become a problem in the future? I hope not. But if it does, I’ll address it.

Go here to Add Your Ebooks. Though it states: “During this current beta period of eBooksAreForever, we will need to actively control everything from the number of authors and number of libraries participating, to the diversity of titles in each genre. What this means is your application may be denied…”