For the next year, Simon & Schuster will test a pilot eBook program with the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library. Here’s more from the release:
The participating libraries can acquire any Simon & Schuster ebook title at any time during the pilot’s one-year term, with each title usable for one year from the date of purchase. Each library can offer an unlimited number of checkouts during the one-year term for which it has purchased a copy; each copy may only be checked out by one user at a time. All of Simon & Schuster’s frontlist and backlist titles that are available as ebooks are eligible for the program, with new titles being made available simultaneous with their publication.
In an interesting twist on the traditional model, patrons can buy books through the library online and the library will receive a portion of the sale. The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library programs will start April 30th and the Queens Library program launches in May.
These eBook programs will be handled by different distributors. 3M will handle the lending program for the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Library, while BiblioCommons will enable patrons to purchase books. In Queens, Baker & Taylor will handle both the lending and the purchase options.
UPDATE: NYPL President Tony Marx had this comment:
With this news, five of the six major publishers have introduced programs to provide e-books to libraries. I’m proud to report that we at The New York Public Library have played a key role in moving the industry along. We’ve worked with individual publishers, including Penguin and Macmillan. We formed the ReadersFirst coalition, which now includes 255 library systems representing 189 million readers, all demanding the same open, easy and free access to e-books that they have come to rely on with physical books. And, we’ve shared the gains we’ve made with other libraries, as is the case with today’s Simon & Schuster news, which provides e-books to readers in Brooklyn and Queens.