Publisher speeds up e-book access for libraries in sudden policy flip


AP

NEW YORK — The publisher of Khaled Hosseini, Harlan Coben and other popular authors has decided that it’s comfortable with letting libraries offer e-book editions of brand new releases.

Starting Tuesday, libraries can offer e-books from Penguin Group (USA) at the same time that the hardcover comes out, a switch from the previous policy of delaying downloads for six months, the publisher told The Associated Press. While vastly more e-books are available to libraries compared with a few years ago, Penguin and other publishers have limited digital access for fear of losing sales. The American Library Association has been calling for less restrictive terms.

Penguin has for months been tracking e-book usage at libraries through pilot programs around the country. The effect of library downloads on commercial revenues has been acceptable and the publisher was comfortable with making new releases available, the director of online sales and marketing, Tim McCall, said Wednesday. That means libraries can provide e-editions of Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed” starting with its official date of publication, May 21.