It’s no secret that libraries are struggling to meet user demand for ebooks, and now the Washington County Library System of Minnesota has taken the obvious next step: they’re calling for indie authors from across the state to submit their books to be loaned out.
This isn’t the first time a library has decided to stock up on ebooks by local authors; similar schemes have also been launched in part of Ohio. The Minnesota system is open to any author from the state, and they hope to advance the Library Local Connect idea to the state level soon. If they’re going to do that, they should probably come up with a more streamlined application process for authors, because at present there seems to be an application form involved, and then a digital submission system.
If you’re a Minnesota author and you want to take part: start here.
Authors don’t seem to be getting any money for having their books loaned out beyond the retail purchase price for one copy, but that’s not the idea. They gain exposure and might, for example, gain a benefit by offering the first volume in a series through the system. Meanwhile, the libraries involved get a better stock of ebooks for users. The Minnesota system might not be perfect, but it’s a good example of how libraries the world over can benefit from the ebook revolution, even if traditional publishers aren’t so keen to help.