A short while ago, Smashwords began offering libraries the option to buy eBooks, and allowing authors to set a separate price for libraries. My immediate thought was, “Wow, that’s awesome!”
I love the library. One of my earliest memories is of the library in the strip mall next to where my mom worked when I was in grade school. Sometimes I would have to go to work with her, and the library was a blessing during the long hours I had to entertain myself. I’ve discovered many of my favorite authors through the library. I’m thrilled that Botanicaust is offered at 3 libraries at the time of this post. I hope more will pick it up.
Smashwords also offers the option for authors to charge libraries more for their published works. Charge the library more? Our local library is struggling to maintain hours because of budget cuts as it is. Libraries are public service institutions, serving people regardless of race, income, political belief, or religion. My daughter volunteers at the library. Libraries are about community, and service, and education. I want to be a part of that.
Yet I just read this article at the Book View Cafe and learned that some publishers do want to charge more. Or not offer books at all. Or charge library users to borrow the book. Or limit downloads. Do they really fear libraries will cut into their sales? I can’t tell the number of times I’ve discovered an author through the library and then purchased several titles to call my own. Sometimes my checkout time on an eBook has expired before I could finish reading (I’m a slow reader) and I purchased the book rather than get back in the queue for a turn.
Libraries are not a threat. They allow me to discover new authors, much like Amazon is doing with their free reads and borrowing program. Amazon is smart. Pay attention, publishers. Libraries encourage me to buy books. Some may even consider them a marketing device. I plan on always offering my eBooks to libraries for free if I can. Thank you Smashwords.