Tag Archives: eBooks

Independent Publisher Drives Innovation, Sells eBooks to Internet Archive

Publisher of 11:11 Press says it sells—rather than licenses—books to libraries for online lending to reach a broad audience.

The goal of 11:11 Press is to have its books in every library in the world, according to its founder and publisher, Andrew Wilt.

Andrew Wilt, 11:11 Press

“We are big supporters of libraries because they allow equal access to knowledge and preserve culture,” said Wilt, whose independent press based in Minneapolis sells its books at a discount to nonprofits. “From a publishing standpoint, our authors care about being read so we want to get our books to as many people as possible.”

The Internet Archive recently bought the entire catalog of books from 11:11 Press and made them available online for controlled digital lending to one person at a time.  

“Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would not want to have their books in a library, especially the Internet Archive, which is more relevant now than it has been any other time,” Wilt said. “It used to be the library of the future. But in our era of remote learning and people working from home, the Internet Archive is the library of the present. You don’t have to go into an actual physical building. It’s available for anyone with an internet connection. It’s probably the most relevant lending institution at the moment.”

“[Internet Archive] used to be the library of the future. But in our era of remote learning and people working from home, the Internet Archive is the library of the present.”

Andrew Wilt, editor, 11:11 Press

In business for four years, 11:11 Press publishes an eclectic mix of titles that Wilt describes as “disruptive literature.” Its authors push the boundaries. Some books have a very heavy, theoretical and academic focus while others are about everyday working people. There are books of poetry, short stories, novels, and hybrid work. The aim is to give exposure to underrepresented voices and offer an alternative from what is produced by mainstream publishers.

“We’re kind of this lighthouse trying to find those people who are actively looking for something that’s new and exciting,” said Wilt.

From the 11:11 Press Catalog

In one of the 11:11 Press “theory fiction” titles, Zer000 Excess, images are “glitching out” within the text, leading the reader to consider what meaning is being created. Jake Reber wrote the book using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 – the only version of the software with identifiable software features known to produce these “glitches.” Authors like Reber intentionally use these embedded software tools incorrectly in order to get distortion. “Like the early punk bands who put fuzz in their music, we’re trying to add that distortion in the work,” said Wilt.

Human Tetris merges digital dating in an all-too-honest newspaper style of queer dating profiles. It was written as a collaboration between two different voices building a lattice of interlocking online identities by Vi Khi Nao and Ali Raz.

The publisher features “dangerous writing,” which uses fiction as the buffer to draw on personal experience. For authors in this genre, fiction is the lie that tells the truth. “We want to encourage writers to go to those uncharted territories of the self. What you find might be hard to look at, but if you pull back the layers, there’s something unique and beautiful there.” Wilt said.

Jinnwoo (Ben Webb) is a writer, musician, visual artist, and author of the book Little Hollywood published by 11:11 Press. It consists of B-grade movie scripts with paper doll cut outs. The idea is to engage the reader by having them cut out the dolls and use the scripts. “Going to those dark places with honesty encourages the reader to be more mindful, more present, which  leads to more empathy,” Wilt said.

Did you know? Thanks to the innovative partnership between the Internet Archive and Better World Books—our favorite online bookstore—patrons who browse to the 11:11 Press books at archive.org have a direct link to purchase new copies of the books in print via Better World Books.

“Small presses drive innovation.”

In its next catalog, 11:11 Press will be coming out with a 520-page Illustrated Old Testament and corresponding painting. This 9-by-12-inch book, which will sell for $150, is too religious for some and too secular for others, making it a perfect product for a small press, Wilt said. Another upcoming book will be a compilation of short stories by the late Peter Christopher who helped start the dangerous writing movement.

As a small press, Wilt said the focus isn’t to write with marketing in mind but rather for authors to write the stories only they can tell. The hope is for 11:11 Press to create something greater to help benefit society and get people to think in a different way. “Reading authors who courageously face their lives, their past, their future, encourages us, the readers, to do the same,” he said.

Wilt said he anticipates other independent publishers will follow suit in selling their works to the Internet Archive. “Small presses drive innovation. This is where experimentation occurs,” he said. “Our top priority is sharing knowledge.”

Event Recap: Why Trust a Corporation to Do a Library’s Job?

Although people are increasingly turning to Google to search for information, a corporate search engine is not the same as a trusted librarian. And while libraries are used to buying and preserving books, they are now often unable to buy and own digital materials because of publisher licensing restrictions.

The tension between the interests of business and the public was the focus of a conversation hosted by the Internet Archive and Library Futures on April 28. Wendy Hanamura moderated the event with guest panelists Joanne McNeil, author of Lurking: How a Person Became a User; Darius Kazemi, an internet artist and cofounder of Feel Train, a creative technology cooperative in Portland, Oregon; and Jennie Rose Halperin, executive director of Library Futures.

A recording of the event is now available:

Doing an online Google search can feel private because you are doing it alone at home, but corporations are accumulating your information and using it, said McNeil. The tools involved are imperfect and there are trade-offs involved.

“The experiences that a user has on the internet can be quite profound, creative, and very human,” McNeil said. “But to participate with a lot of the social media and websites, especially nowadays, you are dealing with corporations and you don’t have the elements of control.”

In Lurking, McNeil traces the evolution of the internet and how it has profoundly changed the way people communicate. She also examines concerns that people have online including privacy, safety, identity and anonymity. In the book, McNeil contrasts the short-term memories of companies with the preservation mission and public accountability of libraries.

Kazemi noted that working with librarians on research there is an understanding of privacy—something that is lacking when engaging online. “It’s a totally different accountability chain,” he said.

Rather than giving your personal information away on a social media network, Kazemi advocates having individuals or even libraries maintain small, independently-run online communities (see https://runyourown.social).

“Facebook can’t understand norms of what passes for civic discourse in every location on the planet. It’s impossible,” Kazemi said. “Libraries already spend time thinking about the norms of their communities,” making it natural to have content moderation at the local level.

Halperin said it’s important for public libraries to have autonomy to be able to fulfill their mission. Her work with the nonprofit Library Futures centers on advocacy for an equitable publishing ecosystem that serves authors, users and communities.

“Artificial scarcity that’s put on digital objects—as a way to create a market for digital books—is really hurting the public,” she said. “I think it’s one of the most important consumer protection issues right now.”

McNeil said the best thing to happen to her, as an author, is for people to read her book. Whether buying or borrowing from a library (in print or electronically), she wants to reach the largest audience.

The panelists said by working together, libraries can provide tools that reflect the public’s values and teach users smart digital citizenship. When corporations control what people have access to in searching, they are embedding bias into the distribution of information, said Halperin. “Libraries must engage in more than just individual information seeking needs, but also in the information seeking needs of communities.”

PM Press Sells Ebooks to Internet Archive: “We want our books to be in every library”

Like any commercial publisher, Ramsey Kanaan wants to make money and have as many people as possible read his books. But he says his company, PM Press, can do both by selling his books to the public and to libraries for lending – either in print or digitally.

While most publishers only license ebooks to libraries, PM Press has donated and sold both print and ebook versions of its titles to the Internet Archive to use in its Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program. By owning the copies, the Internet Archive ensures that the press’s collection of publications is available to the public and preserved.

Browse the PM Press collection

“We’re not above profit making. It’s with sales that we pay our salaries.  Nevertheless, the reason we are also doing this is we actually believe in the information we are selling and we want to make it accessible,” says Kanaan.  “We want our books to be in every library.”

Founded in 2007, PM Press has published between 30 and 40 titles a year. The books (all available in print and various digital formats) include fiction, graphic novels, comics, memoirs, and manifestos on topics such as activism, education, self-defense and parenting.  “We’d like to assert or inject our ideas contained in the titles we publish as our modest contribution to making the world a better place,” says Kanaan.

“Our interest is in the dissemination, preservation and archiving of ideas…with no firewall.”

Ramsey Kanaan, co-founder and publisher, PM Press

From the beginning, Kanaan says the agenda of PM Press has been deeper than just making money by renting books annually to libraries. “The concept of charging multiple times to us is ridiculous and contrary to everything we are trying to do in publishing,” he says. “Our interest is in the dissemination, preservation and archiving of ideas…with no firewall.”

Kanaan says he doesn’t understand the objections to CDL by publishers that have sold their print books to libraries for decades. “If a library purchases a book or an ebook it’s going to be ‘borrowed’ by, ideally, lots of people. The industry has entered into this agreement with libraries for time immemorial – presumably access without further commercial transaction,” says Kanaan. “I don’t see the difference in a library making a print or ebook available for borrowing once it’s purchased. It’s the same.”

A selection of books from PM Press.

In donating to the Internet Archive in December 2019 and selling the other print titles and ebooks in the PM Press collection, Kanaan hopes this hybrid approach will help expand the audience for its titles. “The Internet Archive is not bootlegging materials. They are like any other library lending out one copy at a time.”

Browse the PM Press collection

Kanaan maintains that companies against CDL as a way of doing business are “dinosaurs” and that digital lending is the future. “We see the Internet Archive as a partner in our endeavor to get our information out,” Kanaan says. “We want to achieve a better world for most of its inhabitants. We’re fighting against the 1 percent who only want a better world only for themselves. I’m hoping we are not just on the right side of history, but that we are actually going to win this one.”

The Internet Archive has been buying ebooks from publishers for more than 10 years, but the number has been limited because most publishers insist on license arrangements that constrain our ability to preserve and lend.  If you would like to sell ebooks to the Internet Archive and other libraries, please contact us at info@archive.org.

Judge Sets Tentative Trial Date for November 2021

This week, a federal judge issued this scheduling order, laying out the road map that may lead to a jury trial in the copyright lawsuit brought by four of the world’s largest publishers against the Internet Archive. Judge John G. Koeltl has ordered all parties to be ready for trial by November 12, 2021. He set a deadline of December 1, 2020, to notify the court if the parties are willing to enter settlement talks with a magistrate judge. 

Attorneys for the Internet Archive have met with representatives for the publishers, but were unable to reach an agreement. “We had hoped to settle this needless lawsuit,” said Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive’s founder and Digital Librarian. “Right now the publishers are diverting attention and resources from where they should be focused: on helping students during this pandemic.” 

The scheduling order lays out this timeline:

  • Discovery must be completed by September 20, 2021;
  • Dispositive motions must be submitted by October 8, 2021;
  • Pretrial orders/motions must be submitted by October 29, 2021;
  • Parties must be ready for trial on 48 hours notice by November 12, 2021.

In June, Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and Penguin Random House LLC—with coordination by the Association of American Publishers—filed a lawsuit to stop the Internet Archive from digitizing and lending books to the public, demanding that the non-profit library destroy 1.5 million digital books. 

Publishers Weekly Senior Writer Andrew Albanese has been covering the story from the beginning. In a July 31st Beyond the Book podcast for the Copyright Clearance Center, Albanese shared his candid opinions about the lawsuit. “If this was to be a blow out, open-and-shut case for the publishers, what do the publishers and authors get?” Albanese asked. “I’d say nothing.”

“Honestly, a win in court on this issue will not mean more sales for books for publishers. Nor will it protect any authors or publisher from the vagaries of the Internet,” the Publishers Weekly journalist continued. “Here we are in the streaming age, 13 years after the ebook market took off, and we’re having a copyright battle, a court battle over crappy PDFs of mostly out-of-print books? I just don’t think it’s a good look for the industry.”

In order to make the vast majority of 20th Century books accessible to digital learners, libraries such as the Internet Archive have been digitizing the physical books they own and lending them on a 1-to-1 “own to loan” basis—a legal framework called Controlled Digital Lending. Publishers refuse to sell ebooks to libraries, insisting on temporary licenses on restrictive terms.  This business practice “threatens the purpose, values, and mission of libraries and archives in the United States,” explains Kyle K. Courtney, copyright advisor to Harvard University Libraries. “It undermines the ability of the public (taxpayers!) to access the materials purchased with their money for their use in public libraries and state institutions, and further, it is short sighted, and not in the best interest of library patrons or the public at large.” 

“Libraries have always had the right to buy and lend books. It’s at the core of a library’s mission,” said Kahle. “The Internet Archive would like to purchase ebooks, but the publishers won’t sell them to us, or to any library. Instead they are suing us to stop all learners from accessing the millions of digitized books in our library.”

In-Library eBook Lending Program Expands to 1,000 Libraries

Internet Archive announces 1,000 Library Partners from 6 countries have joined to build and lend a pool of 100,000+ eBooks; Extending the Traditional In-Library Lending Model.

San Francisco, CA – Today, the Internet Archive announced that the 1,000th library from 6 countries has joined its In-Library eBook Lending Program. Led by the Internet Archive, patrons may borrow eBooks from a new, cooperative 100,000+ eBook lending collection of mostly 20th century books on OpenLibrary.org, a site where it’s already possible to read over 1 million eBooks without restriction. During a library visit, patrons with an OpenLibrary.org account can borrow any of these lendable eBooks using laptops, reading devices or library computers. This new twist on the traditional lending model could increase eBook use and revenue for publishers.

“As readers go digital, so are our libraries,” said Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “To grow from 150 great, forward-thinking libraries in Feb. 2011 to 1,000 libraries today, suggests that there is a true need for this type of program. We, as libraries,  want to buy eBooks to lend to our patrons.” (See the partial list of participating libraries below.)

This new digital lending system will enable patrons of participating libraries to read books in a web browser. “In Silicon Valley, iPads and other reading devices are hugely popular. Our partnership with the Internet Archive and OpenLibrary.org is crucial to achieving our mission — to meet the reading needs of our library visitors and our community,” said Linda Crowe, Executive Director of the Peninsula Library System.

A recent survey of libraries across North America was conducted by Unisphere Research and Information Today, Inc. (ITI). It reported that of the 1,201 libraries canvassed, 73% are seeing increased demand for digital resources with 67% reporting increased demand for wireless access and 62% seeing a surge in demand for web access.

American libraries spend $3-4 billion each year on publishers’ products. “I’m not suggesting we spend less, I am suggesting we spend smarter by buying and lending more eBooks,” asserted Kahle. He is also encouraging libraries worldwide to join in the expansion of this pool of purchased and digitized eBooks so their patrons can borrow from this larger collection.

How It Works
Any OpenLibrary.org account holder can borrow up to 5 eBooks at a time, for up to 2 weeks. Books can only be borrowed by one person at a time. People can choose to borrow either an in-browser version (viewed using the Internet Archive’s BookReader web application), or a PDF or ePub version, managed by the free Adobe Digital Editions software. This new technology follows the lead of the Google eBookstore, which sells books from many publishers to be read using Google’s books-in-browsers technology. Readers can use laptops, library computers and tablet devices, including the iPad.

What Participating Libraries Are Saying
The reasons for joining the initiative vary from library to library. Judy Russell, Dean of University Libraries at the University of Florida, said, “We have hundreds of books that are too brittle to circulate. This digitize-and-lend system allows us to provide access to these older books without endangering the physical copy.”

“Libraries are our allies in creating the best range of discovery mechanisms for writers and readers…”
Richard Nash
Founder of Cursor, Publisher

Digital lending also offers wider access to one-of-a-kind or rare books on specific topics such as family histories — popular with genealogists. This pooled collection will enable libraries like the Boston Public Library and the Allen County Public Library in Indiana to share their materials with genealogists around the state, the country and the world.

“Genealogists are some of our most enthusiastic users, and the Boston Public Library holds some genealogy books that exist nowhere else,” said Amy E. Ryan, President of the Boston Public Library. “This lending system allows our users to search for names in these books for the first time, and allows us to efficiently lend some of these books to visitors at distant libraries.”

“Reciprocal sharing of genealogy resources is crucial to family history research. The Allen County Public Library owns the largest public genealogy collection in the country, and we want to make our resources available to as many people as possible. Our partnership in this initiative offers us a chance to reach a wider audience,” said Jeffrey Krull, Director of the Allen County Public Library.

Publishers selling their eBooks to participating libraries include Cursor and OR Books. Books purchased will be lent to readers as well as being digitally preserved for the long-term. This continues the traditional relationship and services offered by publishers and libraries.

Jo Budler, Kansas State Librarian, comments, “Kansas librarians are very excited about offering this downloadable service to the residents of Kansas.  Historically Kansas librarians have been strong supporters of collaborative endeavors.  This project fits very nicely with projects undertaken in the past, and with the desire to continue to offer excellent customer service and new services into the future.”

“Creating digital structures that support access to content through public libraries is imperative. The Digital In-Library Lending project is a beginning. California is delighted to be involved a project that will create more online access to content for Californians” said Californian State Librarian Stacey Aldrich.

John Oakes, founder of OR Books, said, “We’re always on the lookout for innovative solutions to solve the conundrum of contemporary publishing, and we are excited to learn about the Internet Archive’s latest project. For us, it’s a way to extend our reach to the crucial library market. We look forward to the results.”

For More Information
Here are some eBooks that are only available to people in participating libraries.
Libraries interested in partnering in this program should contact: info@archive.org.
To use this service, please visit a participating library:


List of Participating Libraries

Aboite Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Dupont Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Georgetown Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Grabill Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Hessen Cassel Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Little Turtle Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Main Library, Allen County Public Library

Monroeville Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

New Haven Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Pontiac Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Shawnee Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Tecumseh Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Waynedale Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Woodburn Branch Library, Allen County Public Library

Adams Street Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Brighton Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Charlestown Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Codman Square Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Connolly Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Dudley Branch Library, Boston Public Library

East Boston Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Egleston Square Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Faneuil Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Fields Corner Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Grove Hall Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Honan-Allston Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Hyde Park Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Jamaica Plain Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Lower Mills Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Mattapan Branch Library, Boston Public Library

North End Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Orient Heights Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Parker Hill Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Roslindale Branch Library, Boston Public Library

South Boston Branch Library, Boston Public Library

South End Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Uphams Corner Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Washington Village Branch Library, Boston Public Library

West End Branch Library, Boston Public Library

West Roxbury Branch Library, Boston Public Library

Internet Archive

MBLWHOI Library, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Atherton Library, Atherton, California

Bay Shore Library, Daly City, California

Belmont Library, Belmont, California

Brisbane Library, Brisbane, California

Burlingame Public Library, Burlingame, California

Burlingame Library Easton Branch, Burlingame, California

Cañada College Library, Redwood City, California

College of San Mateo Library, San Mateo, California

East Palo Alto Library, East Palo Alto, California

Fair Oaks Library, Redwood City, California

Foster City Library, Foster City, California

Grand Avenue Branch Library, South San Francisco, California

Half Moon Bay Library, Half Moon Bay, California

Hillsdale Branch Library, San Mateo, California

John Daly Library, Daly City, California

Marina Public Library, San Mateo, California

Menlo Park Library, Menlo Park, California

Menlo Park Library Belle Haven Branch, Menlo Park, California

Millbrae Library, Millbrae, California

Pacifica Sanchez Library, Pacifica, California

Pacifica Sharp Park Library, Pacifica, California

Portola Valley Library, Portola Valley, California

Redwood City Public Library, Redwood City, California

Redwood Shores Branch Library, Redwood City, California

San Bruno Library, San Bruno, California

San Carlos Library, San Carlos, California

San Mateo Public Library, San Mateo, California

Schaberg Library, Redwood City, California

Serramonte Main Library, Daly City, California

Skyline College Library, San Bruno, California

South San Francisco Public Library, South San Francisco, California

Westlake Library, Daly City, California

Woodside Library, Woodside, California

Anza Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Bayview/Anna E. Waden Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Bernal Heights, San Francisco Public Library

Chinatown/Him Mark Lai Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Excelsior, San Francisco Public Library

Glen Park Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Golden Gate Valley Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Ingleside Branch, San Francisco Public Library

San Francisco Public Library, Main

Marina, San Francisco Public Library

Merced Branch Library, San Francisco Public Library

Mission, San Francisco Public Library

Mission Bay, San Francisco Public Library

Noe Valley/Sally Brunn Branch, San Francisco Public Library

North Beach Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Ocean View, San Francisco Public Library

Ortega, San Francisco Public Library

Park Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Parkside, San Francisco Public Library

Portola Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Potrero Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Presidio Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Richmond/Senator Milton Marks Branch, San Francisco Public Library

Sunset, San Francisco Public Library

Visitacion Valley, San Francisco Public Library

West Portal, San Francisco Public Library

Western Addition, San Francisco Public Library

The Urban School of San Francisco

Augustana Campus Library, University of Alberta

Bibliothèque Saint-Jean (BSJ), University of Alberta

Cameron Library, University of Alberta

Herbert T. Coutts (Education & Physical Education) Library, University of Alberta

Rutherford Library, University of Alberta

John A. Weir Memorial Law Library, University of Alberta

John W. Scott Health Sciences Library, University of Alberta

Winspear Business Reference Library, University of Alberta

Architecture and Fine Arts Library, University of Florida

Education Library, University of Florida

Health Science Center Library, University of Florida

Borland Library, University of Florida

Veterinary Medicine Reading Room, University of Florida

Allen H. Neuharth Journalism and Communications Library, University of Florida

Library West, University of Florida

Marston Science Library, University of Florida

Mead Library, University of Florida

Music Library, University of Florida

Smathers Library (East), University of Florida

Robarts Library, University of Toronto

Gerstein Science Information Centre, University of Toronto

Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria University

E J Pratt Library, Victoria University

Emmanuel College Library, Victoria University

Why Publishers Support E-book Lending with OpenLibrary.org: A Q&A with Smashwords Mark Coker

Photo of Mark Coker

Mark Coker Founder, CEO Smashwords

This Q&A kicks off a series of conversations with visionary publishers who support e-book digital library lending with OpenLibrary.org.

Mark Coker, Founder, CEO and Chief Author Advocate, founded Smashwords  to change the way books are published, marketed and sold.  In just three years it has become the leading ebook publishing and distribution platform for independent authors and small publishers.  The Wall Street Journal named Mark Coker one of the “Eight Stars of Self-Publishing” in 2010. He is a contributing columnist for the Huffington Post, where he writes about ebooks and the future of publishing. For Smashwords updates, follow Mark on Twitter at @markcoker.

Q. What is the relationship between publishers and Open Library?

A: “There is an intersection of common interest with publishers and Open Library – the passionate desire to get books to readers. The innovators at Open Library understand that the way people access books is an ongoing evolution and they are at the forefront of finding solutions to support all the key stakeholders – publishers and distributors, authors and most of all, readers.

Q: How do Libraries help to support book distribution?

old man reading computer

“Its simple – the more readers have a chance to engage with a book, the more likely they are to recommend it, or purchase it.”

A: Open Library purchases your books and shares them with readers by creating a web page for each book, with a cover photo and descriptive information. There are prompts to read, borrow and buy. Open Library has more than 4,600,000 unique visitors a month.

Q: What makes Smashwords different from other publishing organizations?

A: Smashwords represents 19,000 indie authors and small presses who handle the writing, editing and pricing of their books. We distribute these titles to major retailers such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Diesel. We believe that authors should maintain the creative and financial control of their work and receive the lion share of income. Our authors keep upwards of 85% of the profits on the books we distribute.

Q. Why are some publishers and authors excited about e-books accessed via public libraries?

“If you build it, they will come.”

A: Our authors and publishers rely on Smashwords to open up new opportunities to reach readers. We’re working with most of the biggest indie authors, and many of them are excited about libraries. Open Library and its partners believe, “if you build it, they will come and I agree.  As demand for ebooks through a digital public library systems increase, publishers will better understand the value of partnering with Open Library. We hope they utilize Smashwords to reach these new distribution venues.

Buying E-Books from Smashwords

Young Adult e-Books by Amanda Hocking available on OpenLibrary.org

Smashwords’ best-selling authors contribute to OpenLibrary.org

Smashwords, the largest distributor of independently published literature, recently provided the Internet Archive and OpenLibrary.org with its first installment of e-Books from best known, best-selling e-Book authors including: Young Adult sensation Amanda Hocking; Fantasy author, Brian Pratt; Romance novelist Ruth Ann Nordin; and Business Expert, Gerald Weinberg.

Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords believes that libraries are crucial to every publisher’s survival because they provide the face to face connection between readers, authors and books.

“We see tremendous value in partnering with the Internet Archive. Their visionary leadership is helping to create a worldwide digital public library.”
Mark Coker, CEO, Smashwords

The deposit by Smashwords was a first attempt at demonstrating the feasibility of making modern books more globally accessible through OpenLibrary.org. Next up – the creation of a new model that supports the on-going purchase of e-Books by participating libraries.

“The publishing world is rapidly changing,” asserts Coker, “There’s plenty of room for numerous distribution models and in my opinion, publishers should be bending over backwards to support these initiatives.”

Open Library Buying e-Books from Publishers

The Internet Archive is on campaign to buy e-Books from publishers and authors; making more digital books available to readers who prefer using laptops, reading devices or library computers.  Publishers such as Smashwords, Cursor and A Book Apart have already contributed e-Books to OpenLibrary.org – offering niche titles and the works of best-selling “indy” authors including Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath.

“Libraries are our allies in creating the best range of discovery mechanisms for writers and readers—enabling open and browser-based lending through the OpenLibrary.org means more books for more readers, and we’re thrilled to do our part in achieving that.” – Richard Nash, founder of Cursor.

American libraries spend $3-4 billion a year on publisher’s materials.  OpenLibrary.org and its more than 150 partnering libraries around the US and the world are  leading the charge to increase their combined digital book catalog of 80,000+ (mostly 20th century) and 2 million+ older titles.

“As demand for e-Books increases, libraries are looking to purchase more titles to provide better access for their readers.” – Digital Librarian Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive.

This new twist on the traditional lending model promises to increase e-book use and revenue for publishers. OpenLibrary.org offers an e-Book lending library and digitized copies of classics and older books as well as books in audio and DAISY formats for those qualified readers.

“The e-book thing isn’t happening, it has happened.”

The ALA Midwinter held its annual meeting in San Diego on January 8, 2011. Moderated by Rick Weingarten, former director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, the panel featured Internet Archive founder and digital librarian Brewster Kahle; Sue Polanka, head of reference and instruction at Wright State University and author of the e-book blog No Shelf Required; and Tom Peters, CEO of TAP Information Services.

You can watch video of the panel discussion at http://www.archive.org/details/alamidwinter2011. There is also an HD version.

A nice writeup of the conference held in San Diego, CA on January 8, 2011:
At ALA Midwinter, Brewster Kahle, Librarians Ponder The E-book Future

From the article:

‘“The e-book thing isn’t happening,” Kahle, noted “it has happened.” Kahle, who founded the Open Content Alliance, and Open Library project, a digitization program, offered a strong message to librarians: don’t let a few powerful corporations take control of the digital future. He expressed his longstanding concern over Google’s efforts to scan collections “and sell it back to us,” and urged libraries not to give up their traditional roles. “What libraries do is buy stuff, and lend it out,” he said, suggesting that libraries “digitize what we have to, and buy what we can,” but not to let the promise of licensed access turn libraries into agents for a few major corporations. “We do so at our peril.” He also urged more dialogue with publishers and vendors about the future of digital content and the role of libraries—but he also urged bold action.’

-posted by Jeff Kaplan

Go Books in Browsers from Google!

We are excited to see commercial books from many publishers being made available through web browser technology from Google eBookstore. As a standards based system, reading in a browser offers an opportunity for many more people to actively participate in the evolving digital book ecology.

The advantage of “books in browsers” over dedicated devices and even app store-based selling is that books can come from any website, read on many more devices, and be findable with standard search technologies.

The Google eBook Reader

Buying books that are delivered in a browser is now being demonstrated on a massive scale by Google. This is great news as it shows that the security measures offered are good enough for commercial players.

Lending books through a browser that recreates the traditional library-check-out system was demonstrated at the Books in Browsers 2010 summit at the Internet Archive. Lending and vending of books using browsers can pave the way for many winners:

Authors can find wider distribution for their work.
Publishers both big and small can now distribute books directly to readers.
Book sellers can find new and larger audiences for their products.
Device makers can offer access to millions of books instantly.
Libraries can continue to loan books in the way that patrons expect.
Readers could start to get universal access to all knowledge.

I am especially excited to see the possibilities in platform independent social reading and beautifully designed ebooks that could come from browser based books.