November 27, 2020

Simon & Schuster Drops “Buy it Now” Link Requirement on Ebook Borrow and Hold Pages

UPDATE We’ve added comments from Simon & Schuster and the American Library Association since we first posted this item.

In June whenSimon & Schuster announced that their complete frontlist and backlist titles would be available to libraries for lending we also learned that S&S was requiring that titles acquired for library lending also include a link allowing library users to buy the book by clicking a link on all borrow and hold pages.

From the OverDrive E-Mail:

OverDrive is pleased to share that the Simon & Schuster eBook catalog is available to purchase without the previously-required Buy It Now feature.

Your library can now add eBooks from Simon & Schuster to your digital collection without having to also offer a Buy It Now option. You can find Simon & Schuster titles in OverDrive Marketplace, and titles purchased will be made available to your users within 24 hours. Simon & Schuster eBooks are available with a one-year term limit from the date they become available in your library’s digital collection.

UPDATE: Comments by Simon & Schuster CEO, Carolyn Reidy:

Simon & Schuster announced today that, effective immediately, ebooks from its catalog would be made available to libraries nationwide irrespective of whether or not the library participates in the publisher’s “Buy It Now” merchandising program. By lifting the previously required “Buy It Now” stipulation, an even greater number of libraries across the United States can now choose to acquire for their collections ebook editions of such beloved classic favorites and current bestsellers as The Old Man and the Sea, Steve Jobs, Revival, All the Light We Cannot See, Hard Choices, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and the Mortal Instruments and Dork Diaries series.

“Since we first began offering ebooks to libraries, we have been gratified by the enthusiastic response and valuable feedback we have received from our partners in the library community,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster. “We very much look forward to serving the broadest possible segment of the library community in order to bring our ebooks to their patrons, while at the same time we hope libraries will consider `Buy It Now’ as a new and viable option to generate revenue for the library and provide a service for their
patrons.”

As announced previously, each Simon & Schuster title acquired by a library for lending is usable for one year from the date of purchase. The library can offer an unlimited number of checkouts during the one-year term for which it has purchased a copy, although 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.

For the convenience of patrons who might not want to wait until a popular new title is available, and to help support libraries, the “Buy It Now” capability gives the patron the option to purchase a copy of Simon &
Schuster eBooks through a library’s online portal, with a portion of the proceeds from each sale going to the library.

Simon & Schuster ebooks are distributed to libraries through 3M, Baker & Taylor and Overdrive.

UPDATE 2 Comment from ALA

The American Library Association (ALA) and its Digital Content Working Group (DCWG) today welcomes Simon & Schuster’s announcement that it will allow libraries to opt into the “Buy It Now” program. The publisher began offering all of its ebook titles for library lending nationwide in June 2014, with required participation in the “Buy It Now” merchandising program, which enables library users to directly purchase a title rather than check it out from the library.

“From the beginning, the ALA has advocated for the broadest and most affordable library access to e-titles, as well as licensing terms that give libraries flexibility to best meet their community needs,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “We appreciate that Simon & Schuster is modifying its library ebook program to provide libraries a choice in whether or not to participate in Buy It Now. Providing options like these allow libraries to enable digital access while also respecting local norms or policies.

“This change also speaks to the importance of sustaining conversations among librarians, publishers, distributors and authors to continue advancing our shared goals of connecting writers and readers,” Young added. “We are still in the early days of this digital publishing revolution, and we hope we can co-create solutions that expand access, increase readership and improve exposure for diverse and emerging voices,” said DCWG Co-Chairs Carolyn Anthony and Erika Linke. “Many challenges remain including high prices, privacy concerns, and other terms under which ebooks are offered to libraries. We are continuing our discussions with publishers.”

Simon & Schuster ebooks are available for lending for one year from the date of purchase.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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