Getting a handle on self-published eBooks

EBooks have had a profound effect on libraries in many ways, not only the need to provide support to patrons but also in publishing trends and how we track/acquire titles. Self-publishing is nothing new, but the ease with which eBooks are put out (compared to print) has caused this market to boom.  For librarians, the sheer amount of titles is a bit of a nightmare, challenging how we acquire and promote content. Libraries are still coming to grips with the ramifications. Shelf space is no limitation if we are linking to titles "in the cloud." (Many available for simultaneous access and no DRM!) But how do we know what’s "good"?  Is any of it good? Are there local authors we might want to promote in any case? For what, if anything, should we consider preserving/archiving access?

LJ and BiblioBoard have released Self-e Select (cute name, eh?) to try to help discover good self-published content.  Here's what they have to say:  Libraries have struggled for years to find an efficient and easy way to make ebooks available from local authors. SELF-e is the solution to this problem. Some of the top library systems in the country are using it in innovative ways to serve their communities and help local writers get recognition. We provide a turn-key technology for simple author submissions, plus promotional materials and marketing support to help you take full advantage of the service.

Look here for more info on a trial, who is using Self-e, and how it might help libraries:

ReadersFirst is not at this time endorsing Self-e, but we like the effort to expand access to simultaneously accessible content and to discover new authors.  Libraries need to be relevant in an increasingly digital world, as well as discover and promote local content, and this tool might help.  Check it out and post back what you think!

Michael Blackwell for ReadersFirst