For writers like me who are self-repubbing our backlist books as ebooks—and for that matter, for indie writers of all stripes—one tough if not impossible sell has been libraries. There simply hasn’t been a reasonable way for individual authors to get their ebooks into a system where libraries could buy them. Most library ebook (and audiobook) lending is handled through Overdrive, a distribution system you’ve probably dealt with if you’ve ever borrowed an ebook or audiobook from a library. (I myself download a lot of audiobooks, which I listen to on my Zune while walking Captain Jack or doing housework. They all come through Overdrive.) Well, Overdrive is not a friendly system to get your books into if you’re an individual author-publisher. Some of my colleagues have been trying and trying, and still don’t have their books in there.
Today Smashwords announced a distribution deal with Baker & Taylor, which has been around forever as a print book distributor, and one that many libraries order from. B&T now has an ebook distribution network called Axis360, which offers ebooks to public libraries. And books published through Smashwords will now be eligible for distribution through Axis360. This is great news for writers, and for libraries and library patrons (I hope).
The news from Smashwords also includes distribution to the Blio ebookstore and app. You can read the press release from Smashwords for more info.