This post by Mark Coker originally appeared on the Smashwords blog on 5/20/14.
Imagine if your indie ebook was purchasable by thousands of public libraries around the globe. Now imagine no more.
Smashwords today announced an agreement to supply more than 200,000 titles to OverDrive, the world’s largest library ebook platform.
OverDrive powers the ebook procurement and checkout systems for 20,000 public libraries around the world, including 90% of US public libraries.
This agreement marks a watershed moment for indie authors, libraries and library patrons around the world.
It’s also a big deal for thousands of small independent presses around the globe who now have a convenient onramp into the OverDrive network.
Millions of library patrons will now have access to the amazing diversity and quality of the Smashwords catalog.
At a time when many large publishers are charging libraries high prices for ebooks (front list ebooks from Big 5 publishers can cost libraries $80, and even backlist ebooks can cost libraries $20-40), Smashwords authors and publishers are stepping in to supply thousands of affordably priced, library-friendly ebooks. Faced with the option of purchasing a single James Patterson novel for around $40.00, or ten thrillers from today’s most popular indie authors at $4.00 each, libraries now have exciting new options to build patron-pleasing ebook collections.
To help librarians streamline collection development, in the weeks ahead OverDrive and Smashwords will create curated buy-lists lists libraries can use to purchase the most popular indie authors and titles. Libraries will soon have the option, for example, to purchase the top 100 YA fantasy novels (approximate price: ~$400), or the top 1,000 most popular contemporary romances (~$4,000) or top 200 complete series across multiple categories (~$2,000), or the top 200 thrillers, mysteries, epic fantasies or memoirs. With most of our bestsellers priced priced at or under $4.00, you can do the math to appreciate how incredibly affordable these collections will be. We’re going to have fun slicing and dicing.
Our lists will measure title popularity by aggregating sales data from across the Smashwords distribution network. Indie authors: If you needed yet another reason to fully distribute all your titles to all retailers via the Smashwords distribution network, now you have it. Stand up and have your sales counted because we want to help libraries purchase the greatest diversity of high-quality ebooks across multiple genres and categories.
Here are a couple additional stats to help you appreciate the massive scale of the OverDrive network: