Flexible licensing models from the DPLA Exchange

By DPLA, April 13, 2021.
Published under:

DPLA’s ebooks program serves our mission of maximizing access to digital content by giving libraries across the country greater control over their acquisition and delivery of ebooks and audiobooks; making more diverse content easily available to libraries and their patrons; and advocating for the needs of libraries with publishers. The DPLA Exchange is a key component of this work. The DPLA Exchange is the only non-profit ebook and audiobook marketplace developed in consultation with libraries, for libraries. It serves a rapidly growing list of libraries, including large public libraries like the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and Alameda County Library, as well as the state libraries of Connecticut, Georgia, Montana, Texas, and Washington. 

The DPLA Exchange, paired with SimplyE, allows libraries to expand their digital offerings through a library-owned and managed solution to purchase, organize, and deliver ebooks and audiobooks. We offer ebooks and audiobooks from more than 1,000 publishers, including titles from publishers like Hachette, Harper Collins, Macmillan, and Simon and Schuster as well as hundreds of mid-sized and independent publishers. DPLA advocates for libraries with publishers for licensing models that better fit the needs of libraries and offers unique licensing models on much of the content available in the DPLA Exchange. 

Over the past year, DPLA has worked with publishers including Workman, Abrams, and Independent Publishers Group to develop a variety of flexible licensing models that serve the interests of libraries, authors, and publishers. These include 40 x 10 concurrent, unlimited one-at-a-time, and 5 concurrent loans at 1/4 the price. Currently, titles from 25 publishers are available with multiple licensing models, giving libraries the flexibility to keep one copy perpetually on the virtual shelf while lending out multiple copies of in-demand titles simultaneously. (See an example here.) In addition, more than 30 publishers are offering unlimited simultaneous use licensing through BiblioLabs, including Capstone, Orca Book Publishers, Independent Authors Project collection, Triumph Books, Chicago Review Press, Dark Horse Comics, and many more. 

This table gives a more detailed explanation of some of the licensing models available in the DPLA Exchange: 

Preferred Model Why we like it 
Perpetual one-user-at-a-time accessThe one-user-at-a-time model creates queues and “friction” for popular books but perpetual access ensures that the item will remain in the library’s holdings and available to be discovered for years to come. 
Bundles of 40 lends available 10 at a timeThis new “bundle of lends” model is designed to help libraries promote books AND maintain availability, allowing the titles to have maximum discovery through the library but also ensuring that, if popular, the title is repurchased (in as little as 8 weeks).  This option has been popular with libraries and many have acquired all the titles available on this model. 
Bundles of 5 lends available simultaneouslyThis small bundle allows libraries to take a low-risk chance on a book they may not otherwise acquire. It also allows the publisher and author to collect a higher price on a per-lend basis. 
Simultaneous multi-user access collections Bundles of books available to an unlimited number of patrons allow libraries to promote titles without fear of long holds queues. This model also allows publishers to include and promote discovery of lesser-known authors and titles.   
Community ReadsCommunity Reads licensing enables simultaneous access and empowers libraries to highlight a book without making patrons wait in holds queues for the recommended work. This is a great way to drive discovery of new authors and titles.  

To find out more about the DPLA Ebooks program or how your library can start purchasing books through the DPLA Exchange, please get in touch

DPLA’s ebooks work is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation