The New York Times reports that, after exiting the library market in February, Penguin is planning to reenter the market--with a different distribution partner. Penguin stopped distributing new eBook titles through OverDrive last November when it learned that OverDrive was violating its contract by serving eBooks to Kindle users through Amazon's servers, and cut off all eBooks to OverDrive in February. Now, Penguin is working with 3M, the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library on a year-long pilot eBook lending program to begin in August. Penguin will make more than 15,000 frontlist titles available to the libraries, but there will be a six-month delay from the books' initial publication dates, in order to help prevent cannibalization of eBook sales. According to a Penguin spokesperson, library pricing for the eBooks will be similar to consumer prices, with licensing on a one borrower/one copy basis. If the program is successful, Penguin and 3M will roll it out to libraries around the country.
This test is a huge win for 3M, and a slap in the face for OverDrive,
since public libraries that want eBooks from Penguin will have to get
them from 3M. The company has already signed up Random House and
HarperCollins, and is adding publishers at a rapid pace.