Thursday, February 9, 2023

Draft2Digital to Distribute 500,000 Indie eBooks to Palace Marketplace, a Digital Content Marketplace for Libraries

Palace Marketplace logo
Smashwords and Draft2Digital today announced a library distribution agreement with The Palace Project, operators of the Palace Marketplace.  Palace Marketplace is used by librarians to acquire ebooks and audiobooks.

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 logo
To make it easier for libraries to quickly build their collections of high-quality indie ebooks, DPLA is developing curated, recommended buy-lists within Palace Marketplace.  These thematic collections, created by librarians for librarians, are assembled by professional librarian members of the “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).



Marie Seltenrych said...

Mark, you are still number one for authors who love to spread their charm around the globe and who have courage that emanates from their leader in smashing words for the good of the whole world.

Working with Draft2Digital is also a bonanza for authors and I simply love what they are achieving for indies who love all things wordy.

May you be blessed and go from strength to strength as you release the reins of harness on devoted followers and conquerers.

I look forward to a time at Palace Marketplace_

Dovetail Public Relations said...

Hi Linda. You'll find it in Apple's App store by searching for "Palace Project". I'll update the post above so it's easier for the next person to find. Thanks!

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

I'm still very new to all of this, I'm still trying to find my way around the book world Abroad (coming from a small...very small nation). Thank you, Mark, for all you're doing.

I have a million questions, but I will read and re-read...

Linda Paul said...

BTW, Mark, I did ask my local library when they might add the Palace platform. They apparently weren't aware of it, so hopefully I gave them a little nudge.

Dovetail Public Relations said...

@Linda Paul: Great! That's how it'll spread. Seems like such a no-brainer for a library to adopt.

@neena: Try listening to my podcast series. It'll put you on the right track.

@everyone Curious to hear reviews if anyone already using the Palace App?

Laurie Marks said...

FYI, I just tried to sign up for email alerts for this blog, and the form doesn't seem to be functioning.

Linda Paul said...

Mark, I thought you might be interested in this feedback from my local library:

Thanks for contacting us. The Palace Project looks like a great resource in many ways, and we've been keeping an eye on it. However, it's still very new, and it's not the right fit for us just yet. Most of the downsides we've heard about have to do with functionality - both on the staff end (fixing account problems) and the user end (searching/downloading). There's a good chance they'll work these things out, and we'll be happy to reconsider when that happens.

I'm sorry for the disappointing news. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Collection Development Team
Boise Public Library

Dovetail Public Relations said...

@Laurie Meeks - you're right! Sorry about that. I'll need to research this. It looks like Google has discontinued email subscription support. Which means the thousands of current subscribers aren't getting the alerts either. Hmm...

@Linda Paul - thanks for sharing. Glad to hear they're aware of The Palace Project and keeping an eye on it.