Saturday, January 26, 2013

Macmillan Initiates Library eBook Lending With 1200 Minotaur Backlist Titles

Macmillan has fulfilled ceo John Sargent's end-of-year promise and will start making ebooks available for library lending for the first time, beginning "before the end of the first quarter." Macmillan will offer 1200 backlist ebooks from its crime and mystery fiction imprint Minotaur through several distributors, including at launch 3M, OverDrive, and Baker & Taylor. Each purchased title will be available for 2 years or 52 lends, whichever comes first.
All of the books in the program will have the same digital list price. That price was not included in the publisher's announcement, but InfoDocket reports they will sell for $25 per ebook according to Michael Lovett at OverDrive. 

Interestingly, Macmillan's choice of a dedicated genre imprint as the vehicle through which it tries digital lending through libraries mirrors its foray into DRM-free ebooks through science fiction & fantasy imprint Tor.
In a statement Sargent said, "Librarians have been asking for eBooks from Macmillan for their collections. Among the many titles we publish, mystery and crime fiction makes up one of the largest categories and Minotaur Books is the primary source. And, as the library market has always been one of Minotaur’s largest customers, we think that this pilot will provide books especially desired by library patrons. At the same time we do not expect it will heavily impact our retail sales over time."

Minotaur publisher Andy Martin added: "The libraries have always been great supporters of the Minotaur publishing program and a critical mainstay of the category. I am delighted that our books will be the entry of Macmillan into library e-lending. We know mystery and crime fiction is a huge category for libraries and this collection will have something for everyone."

Upon learning of the Macmillan news, ALA president Maureen Sullivan said in a statement: "I m so pleased Macmillan Publishers is beginning to sell e-books to America’s libraries so that we may connect their authors and our readers in the digital age. This is a welcome acknowledgment of our advocacy and the importance of the library market. 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....While today’s announcement is only a first step, we look forward to the release of more details about the pilot and continuing work together to bring even more Macmillan e-titles to libraries in the future."

Though Ingram is not one of the launch distributors for Macmillan, the company announced earlier this week that they are adding an ebook lending model to their MyiLibrary platform. Their new Access Model allows for simultaneous lends to multiple patrons (while Macmillan's pilot sticks to the standard trade model of one lend at a time per copy). Libraries purchase a set of "access credits" for an e-book and "lend it simultaneously to multiple patrons for a set cost, and lending period."

Publishers set the prices for those access credits, and each publisher on the platform--which Ingram says offers over 400,000 titles--can decide, on a per title basis, which of Ingram's various sale models apply.

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