In advance of the 2014 Book Expo America (BEA), BiblioBoard® and Library Journal (LJ) have partnered to launch SELF-e™, an ebook discovery service connecting self-published authors with public libraries and their patrons. Using SELF-e, authors can submit their self-published ebook(s) directly, and LJ will evaluate and select promising works for inclusion in curated collections sorted by genre that participating public libraries can make available to their patrons all over the United States. In addition, authors can opt in to include their ebook(s) in statewide collections with other local authors, whether or not they are selected for LJ’s genre collections.
Millions of self-published ebooks are available through retail channels but not via public libraries, limiting access of self-published authors to new readers and readers to new authors.
To address the availability issues between public libraries and self-published books, Ian Singer, publisher at Library Journal, says, “We didn’t want to be another fee-based review service for self-published titles, as that’s not providing a solution…[for] authors or libraries. We’ve been looking for a way to connect the two for their common audience, the reader. LJ’s…expertise in reviewing titles—which is critical for library book selection—coupled with the BiblioBoard platform is a compelling solution to unite all three.”
Hugh Howey, author of the best-selling “Silo Saga” self-published ebook series, says, “Libraries can be a powerful marketing force for emerging authors. The number one challenge any author has is building an audience. The SELF-e approach to curation combined with simultaneous user access will encourage books to be discovered and even go viral.”
CJ Lyons, a self-published New York Times bestselling author who has sold millions of her “Thrillers With Heart” novels, agrees. “Libraries are all about readers and writers connecting. This program helps librarians to better serve readers and authors to grow their audience, creating a perfect synergy of benefit to all book-lovers.”
Librarians are similarly excited to find a solution to this challenging problem. Steve Spohn, project director of the Massachusetts eBook Project, was already a user of BiblioBoard when he heard about SELF-e.
“SELF-e represents another great step in BiblioBoard’s efforts,” says Spohn, “enabling stronger collaboration among libraries and local authors and furthering libraries’ contributions to creative expression and economic development.”
Spohn is particularly eager to leverage the local author aspect of SELF-e; the parallel submission process allows authors, whether or not they are chosen for the Library Journal-curated collections, to make their ebook(s) available to all public libraries throughout their state.
“Librarians and authors are natural allies, but the current structure is creating tension,” says Mitchell Davis, founder and Chief Business Officer of BiblioBoard. “We’d like to alleviate that… Our partnership with Library Journal will make the selection process much simpler.”
SELF-e submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis, with the first collections set to be released early 2015.