One of my recent blogs posed the question: Are public libraries relics of the past? In that blog I presented a case for the important role libraries still play in our communities. I recently discovered a reason why public libraries deserve even more credit for forward thinking and community responsiveness.
The February 2016 Author Earnings Report (http://authorearnings.com) stated that “In two short years, the market share of paid unit sales between indie [independent] and Big 5 [major publisher] ebooks has more than inverted. The Big 5 now account for less than a quarter of ebook purchases on Amazon, while indies are closing in on 45%.”
As an indie author, I am tremendously heartened by those numbers. I believe that one reason for the increasing popularity of indie ebooks is the decision by the major publishers to charge exorbitant prices for their ebooks. Their greed is an indie author’s gain.
It appears that those who service public libraries have been following the statistics and have recognized the importance of indie authors. Through a free service developed by the Library Journal in 2015, indie authors are now offered an opportunity to provide royalty-free access to their ebooks – locally and nationwide. Since no royalties are paid, some might wonder ‘what’s in it for me?’ The obvious answer is free marketing to a huge audience, especially since the Library Journal’s Patron Profiles note that “Over 50 percent of all library users go on to purchase books by an author they were introduced to in the library”. An author can decide to upload all of their books, or only the first book in a series, or some limited number of their available books. The choice is a personal one and depends on the individual’s marketing strategy.
The process is simple. On the website http://self-e.libraryjournal.com an author need only follow the directions to ‘Submit Your Book’. The Library Journal is the arbiter in deciding which books will be included in the nationally available curated SELF-e collection which they make available to public libraries that subscribe to the service. If a book is chosen for the SELF-e curated collection, the author receives a digital badge advertising the book’s selection.
The badge may be used on personal websites, Facebook pages, or anywhere an author chooses to advertise. This is a definite author benefit! Local public libraries pay for the benefit of having the Library Journal sort through the vast indie book universe to come up with what they rank as the best.
If a book is not accepted for inclusion in the nationally curated collection, authors can still opt to include the book with other local authors in their state’s collection. While statewide collections are more limited than national ones, the potential reader base is still significant.
Reader access is as easy as logging on to a site called Biblioboard at https://library.biblioboard.com/home. The site provides access to local state collections as well as the curated national collection. All books are available for immediate downloading – regardless of how many other people have downloaded the same book.
For those authors who have additional questions about SELF-e, especially with regard to legal concerns, I recommend an informative blog by Jane Friedman which can be found at https://janefriedman.com/selfpub-distribution-libraries.
Note: I recently uploaded my book, Second Chances, to SELF-e. Within 4 – 6 weeks I will learn whether or not it has been accepted into the nationwide collection. Meanwhile, I plan to check out the vast selection of ebooks now available to me. Since Biblioboard isn’t compatible with my old Kindle Fire, and since I don’t enjoy reading on my phone or pc, I’ve decided that I’ve finally found a good reason to upgrade to the new Kindle Fire HD!