The Palace Project is a not-for-profit joint venture between Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Lyrasis. Major funding for The Palace Project has been provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Starting on February 14, the first of an anticipated 500,000 ebook titles from Smashwords and Draft2Digital will begin appearing in Palace Marketplace, available for purchase by libraries. More than 50,000 of these ebooks, including many popular series starters, are priced at free.
Public library interest in independently published content has grown significantly in recent years. This growth has been fueled by patron demand as indie authors scale international bestseller lists and capture an ever-greater share of the book market.
The Palace Project views independently published books as strategically important to its mission of boosting equitable access to a greater diversity of digital content for library patrons.DPLA Curation Corps.”
One of the big challenges The Palace Project seeks to solve is simplifying patron access to a library’s disparate ebook collections. Libraries often acquire their digital content from multiple suppliers. These suppliers include many of the same library platforms – such as OverDrive, Baker & Taylor Axis 360 and Bibliotheca cloudLibrary – that Draft2Digital also supplies.
The content purchased from these different platforms invariably becomes locked in silos that require patrons to use different apps and interfaces to access the collections. There’s no unified patron access. That is, until now.
To solve this problem, The Palace Project developed the Palace App. The Palace App, available for free download by library patrons for both iOS and Android devices (find it in your app store under the name, "The Palace Project"), aggregates patron access to their local library system’s formerly disparate digital collections. From this one Palace App, patrons can search for, check out, and read titles.
The Palace App was introduced in June 2022 and is experiencing rapid adoption by public libraries across the country. More than 400 library systems, including several state-wide systems from California to Connecticut, have already signed on to integrate the Palace App into their collections management systems.
Already, news of the deal is generating industry excitement. Earlier this morning Publishers Weekly covered the news - Palace Project, Draft2Digital Strike Deal to Offer Indie E-books to Libraries - with additional details about Palace Marketplace and DPLA's excitement to bring more indie ebooks to public libraries.
How Indies Can Distribute to Palace Marketplace
Authors who publish with either Smashwords or Draft2Digital can now take immediate advantage of this new library distribution opportunity.
Like other library platforms, Palace Marketplace accepts most categories of books except erotica. Books sold through Palace Marketplace are licensed as one checkout at a time, and will be distributed to US public libraries only.
Draft2Digital authors will earn 60% of their library ebook list price, a significant improvement over other library checkout platforms.
For Smashwords Authors: As defined in the Smashwords Terms of Service, all eligible Smashwords authors and publishers will receive automatic distribution to The Palace Project unless they’ve previously disabled automatic opt-ins from their Dashboard’s Channel Manager tool. Smashwords authors who choose not to distribute to The Palace Project can opt out any time in the next seven days before titles go live, or any time thereafter.
For Draft2Digital Authors: As is standard practice at Draft2Digital, authors and publishers must affirmatively opt in to Palace Marketplace to achieve distribution. The opt in is available starting today from the Draft2Digital dashboard.
Author Marketing Tips
All books distributed to Palace Marketplace will be discoverable for individual purchase by libraries.
To help drive library sales of your books, encourage your American readers to seek out your books at their local public library.
To help support the widespread adoption of Palace App, which makes your books more accessible to patrons whether they libraries purchase from Palace Marketplace or another library platform supplied by Smashwords and Draft2Digital, encourage readers to ask their local library this simple question: “Do you support the Palace App yet?”
For additional ideas on how indie authors can market their ebooks to public libraries, check out episode 6 of the Smart Author Podcast (21 minutes).