Sourcebooks, Overdrive launch pilot to demonstrate the impact of ebook library lending on sales

Publisher Sourcebooks and digital library distributor Overdrive believe that ebook lending through libraries increases an author’s overall book sales and name recognition. Now they are setting out to try to prove it.

Sourcebooks and Overdrive are running a two-week pilot program called “Big Library Read.” From May 15 to June 1, Overdrive’s 35,000 library clients worldwide have the option to feature a Sourcebooks title, Michael Malone’s The Four Corners of the Sky, on their ebook lending homepage (at no charge to the library). As Library Journal reports:

“Sourcebooks, which has worldwide rights to the book, will chronicle the impact on sales not only for this particular title but also the effect on the other seven books that Malone has published with Sourcebooks. The Amazon rankings will also be monitored (as of today, Four Corners of the Sky had an Amazon Best Sellers Rank of 149,512).”

OverDrive will also track “how many patrons sampled the book, how many checked it out, how many pages were read, and will invite patrons to follow Malone on Facebook and Twitter in order to see how the pilot impacts the author’s social media presence.”

“It has always been an assumed ‘given’ that library support helped drive author success, both short- and long-term,” Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah tells Library Journal. “Seeing if we can provide data around that assumption is fascinating.” Many publishers fear that making ebooks available to libraries will cut into paid book sales, so if the experiment shows increased sales for Malone, publishers could find the result reassuring.

Sourcebooks and Overdrive will present their findings from the program at Book Expo America in June.