overdriveapp-150x150.jpgYawn. Here’s the latest in OverDrive’s long series of  much-ballyhooed “pilot” lending partnerships with Simon & Schuster.

This time, “OverDrive is excited to announce a pilot of a new library lending model from Simon & Schuster. Starting today, over 550 Simon & Schuster titles are available for a two-year lending term, in addition to the present one year lending term. For new purchases, libraries will now have an option to select from over 550 eBook titles for either the current one-year lending term, or a new two-year term, with the second year being 50% off.”

I’m not exactly hyperventilating at the breathtaking level of innovation being displayed here. It should be remembered that S&S was the last Big Publishing holdout against library e-lending. It only came on board in 2013 with a first pilot scheme with libraries in New York. And apparently, S&S still can’t get over how radical it’s being. And if so, OverDrive is clearly happy to indulge them:

This additional purchase flexibility comes as a result of the great feedback our library partners provided. We are appreciative of this feedback and of Simon & Schuster’s willingness to pilot an additional option for this group of titles. We’re also hopeful that this is a sign of more good options to come!

Others who don’t have to work closely with S&S could presumably propose many more and better options than we see here. There’s been some highly critical analysis of what this actually means for libraries shelling out for S&S titles. There’s also very little info on the limitations in this scheme. Why only 550 titles? (The first New York libraries scheme opened up the entire catalog.) At least, though, S&S appears to be fairly accommodating on variety of books and geographical availability. The title selection will “include fiction and nonfiction best-sellers, front list releases, and engaging fixed-layout EPUB titles for children and young readers,” while being open “to public library partners in all territories where Simon & Schuster content is available.”

S&S isn’t so much footdragging on e-lending as chaining its Zimmer frame to the library gates. And its attitude is an absolute gift to Amazon’s Kindle e-book lending service, which I’m sure was totally S&S’s intention with this “pilot.” Utterly. Shame about the libraries though.



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