Local authors can now submit eBooks to libraryWashington County Library now accepting eBook submissions from local authors.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Over the last two years, the Washington County Library system has grown its eBook titles to more than 2,500 titles.
Now, the library system is hoping to expand that collection and open up opportunities to local authors.
Earlier this month library officials launched a new initiative called “Library Local Content,” which allows local and independent authors to submit eBooks to be included in the library’s catalogue.
Joe Manion, public services director for Washington County Libraries, developed the idea for Library Local Content after hearing of a similar initiative that is currently in place in Douglas County, Colo.
“We’ve always been very concerned about making everybody’s works accessible,” he said. “What’s a little bit more difficult is to find the small author, the author who is getting started, the author who is local – but now we have the eBook revolution.”
Library Local Content
The program allows independent authors and publishers to submit eBooks to Washington County Libraries for inclusion in the catalogue.
Works that will be considered for addition to the Washington County Library eBook are:
• Any book that has been recognized for excellence in any Midwest Book Awards category
• Any book written or published by a member of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association
• Any independently or self-published book written by a Minnesota author
• Any independently or self-published book about Minnesota.
Authors who qualify are then asked to submit an application, which includes a brief summary of the book, a PDF of the eBook, the book cover image and a worksheet describing the works.
Once an application is submitted, professional book selectors with Washington County Libraries will review the submission for content and quality.
“We anticipate that most things will be accepted,” Manion said, “but, we are looking for that local stuff.”
If a submission is chosen to be included in the catalogue, Washington County Library will purchase the rights for the book and will pay the author, or publisher, the purchase price of the eBook.
The eBook will then be uploaded to OverDrive, Washington County Libraries’ eBook download software, and become available for library patrons to download.
“The best ones we’ll keep indefinitely,” Manion said, “but, if somebody’s book hasn’t been read, we may pull it out of the collection.”
On average, Washington County receives about 6,000 downloads per month, which is about 3 percent of the library’s monthly checkouts.
Manion said Washington County Libraries received its first Library Local Content submission shortly after the program went live Aug. 8.
“This is the first time we’ve tried it,” he said. “We have no idea what the response is going to be.”
Manion and R.H. Stafford Library eBook Collection manager Brian Kraft both said the goal of Library Local Content is to help give exposure to local authors who may be just starting out and who may even be self-published.
“If you’re starting off, the eBook is a lot easier,” Kraft said. “You can put what you have online and see if it goes – they have a lot of flexibility.”
Kraft also said Library Local Content will help develop relationships among the community and authors.
“Everybody kind of knows what the big picture is,” he said. “But if you go local, you can actually have a connection there – the support kind of goes both ways there.”
Chad Lubbers, manager of R.H. Stafford Library, said Washington County Libraries hope to one day make Library Local Content a statewide initiative.
Manion said he is excited to see where Library Local Content goes from here.
“This initiative is a matter of discovery,” he said. “People will be able to discover new authors and authors will be discovered – maybe we’ll find the next Amanda Hocking.”
For more information on Library Local Content, or to submit an application, visit the Washington County Libraries website, www.co.washington.mn.us/info_for_residents/library, click on the eBooks tab and then click on the Library Local Content link.