On December 31, Douglas County Libraries (DCL) acquired 10,000 e-book titles from the world’s largest distributor of self-published works, Smashwords, bringing the total number of e-book files that DCL owns to 21,000. All of the content purchased from Smashwords, including books in popular genres such as fiction, romance, mystery, and science fiction, is available for borrowing by library patrons.
DCL’s model of purchasing e-books directly from publishers, rather than leasing them through third-party vendors, has gained attention from publishers and is being replicated by dozens of other library systems in the U.S. “We’re eager to connect our readers to fresh streams of digital content,” said Jamie LaRue, director of Douglas County Libraries. “Smashword’s average price per title [about $4] allows us to do that more readily than we could from the big publishers [now charging as much as $84 per e-book]. This looks like the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”