Mark Coker

Founder of Smashwords, an ebook distributor

Libraries to become community publishing portals

The opportunity to help local writers become publishers

[Ed. note: The following first appeared on The Huffington Post. It has been reposted here with the author’s permission.]

Public libraries provide an essential community service by promoting literacy and a culture of reading.

With the rise of ebooks, public libraries are at a crossroads. Some book publishers, fearful that library ebook lending will cannibalize retail sales of books, are reluctant to supply ebooks to libraries at the very time that library patrons are clamoring for greater access to such materials.

Rather than standing idly by as publishers jeopardize their future, some libraries see an opportunity to take control by proactively cultivating a newer, more library-friendly source of ebooks. These libraries are developing community publishing initiatives in partnership with self-published ebook authors.

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