This is what I was told:
Only ebooks distributed through OverDrive will be available as library books for this program. As there are other benefits to being distributed by OverDrive, I've tried applying to them twice in the past year or so and was turned down both times—most likely because all the books published at the time were my own, which is no longer the case as my company Imajin Books now publishes other authors and operates much like a regular traditional publisher.
If your books are carried by OverDrive, your books are then available for this new library program. Currently this only applies to US public and school libraries.
It’s my understanding that once you've been accepted by OverDrive, they would pay either the publisher or independent author. But I'm still unclear as to how they operate. Do they only loan out an ebook one at a time and wait for it to be returned before it's loaned out again? Or are they sending out an ebook multiple times?
As an author and publisher, this program raises some red flags for me. And I'm not sure it's a bad thing that we aren't using OverDrive. I want my authors to be paid for their works. I want to be paid for mine too. And our publishing company relies on sales--not giving away our products.
I'm not alone.
Macmillan and Simon & Schuster are not supplying ebooks to this library program, as the New York Times reported. Adam Rothberg, a spokesperson for Simon & Schuster states, "We haven’t yet found a business model with which we are comfortable and that we feel properly addresses the long-term interests of our authors."
I feel the way Rothberg does. Some of our ebooks ARE currently available via Booklending.com, but not through this latest library program, and I'm not sure there is any advantage to Imajin Books or our authors to get involved. We work far too hard on these ebooks; we just can't be expected to provide unlimited content for free.