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I Love Libraries

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I Love Libraries

My name is Joe Konrath, and I love libraries.

My affection for libraries began at a very young age, when my thirst for knowledge and entertainment outgrew my family’s budget to supply me with books. We lived in a small suburb with a small library. How small? The card catalog could fit on a 3′x5′ table.

Remember card catalogs?

I discovered countless new books at my local library, and I credit that opportunity for turning me into the bestselling author I am today.

Thanks for that. I will forever owe a debt to libraries.

But even though I’ve sold over a million ebooks, the majority of libraries in the US and Canada don’t carry the majority of my titles. In fact, the majority of libraries don’t carry ANY of my titles.

After years of being mistreated by large publishers, I decided to self-publish. And even though independent and self-published authors could account for more than 35% of ebooks currently being read, they aren’t represented in libraries.

This bothers me.

So I began to research how to make my work, and the works of other authors, available to libraries, and I discovered that large publishers and middle-man companies mistreat libraries just as much, if not more, than they mistreat authors.

My partner in eBooksAreForever, August Wainwright, and I have spoken with dozens of librarians, and we’ve heard the same tales over and over.

  • Publishers charging too much for ebooks
  • Publishers limiting ebook usage for libraries
  • Publishers only offering older titles
  • DRM issues and checkout limits
  • Licensing deals that don’t allow libraries to own ebooks
  • Expensive start-up costs for libraries to offer ebooks
  • Third party systems that cause as many problems as they solve
  • And some Big Publishers outright refusing to deal with libraries at all

Our conclusion?

Libraries want to offer ebooks, but are being hamstrung by big publishers, lack of a standardized system, high costs, and unfair terms.

At the same time, there are thousands of authors anxious to make their ebooks available to libraries, and have no way of doing so.

Which is why I decided to start this company. To connect authors and libraries in a way where all parties benefit, and no one is taken advantage of.

Currently, we’re only available to libraries who can host their own files, for instance through access to an Adobe Content Server (ACS), or to library systems who may be running similar server setups. During the ongoing beta period:

  • All ebooks are $4.99
  • The library owns the ebook forever
  • A library system can buy a single title for multiple branches, and add more copies as they need them
  • The library can buy the entire eBooksAreForever catalog, or a specific genre, or a specific author, or an individual title with only one click
  • The library can add new catalog titles with one click
  • The author makes 70% royalties, and is paid monthly

In the future, the eBooksAreForever services will expand beyond simply selling titles to libraries. Our goal is to be able to work with every library in the US and Canada, not just those that have ACS in place. So we’re looking for every opportunity to seamlessly integrate with a library’s ILS to make our services available to everyone.

Ultimately, at eBooksAreForever, our mission is to revolutionize the way libraries and their patrons interact with authors and publishers. We see ways in which readers can get all the free content they could ever dream of, authors will go on making royalties forever, and libraries will be freed up to spend their budgets elsewhere (like on ereaders and computers).

And that’s what we’re looking to deliver. That’s the end game.

How is that possible? Contact August for info on our long term goals.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, and library funding keeps getting slashed, eBooksAreForever is going to lead the way in helping librarians, libraries, and library systems provide invaluable services to patrons and communities. We know your job is to help, entertain, and inform people, and there aren’t many jobs as necessary in our society. We know the current publishing climate, combined with the hurdles of bureaucracy, make it even harder to do an already challenging job. We know you value authors, and we know you’re vitally important to the world but aren’t being allowed to do all that you could be doing.

Libraries are essential.

eBooksAreForever wants to make it easier for you to provide the valuable services you currently provide, and will continue to provide into the future.

Please help us spread the word. Tweet this URL and Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Sign up for our newsletter for more information. Talk to one another. Blog for us.

Soon, the forum will be open on this website. We want to hear your concerns, We want to know more about the challenges you face. We want you to help each other so we can pool our knowledge and figure out what works best.

No one else recognizes your importance.

But we do.