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Publisher tries e-books at libraries

– The publisher of Stephen King, Bob Woodward and other top-selling authors has changed its policy of withholding e-books from libraries.

Simon & Schuster announced a 1-year pilot program Monday with three New York City library systems that cover the city’s five boroughs. Simon & Schuster had been the last of the “Big Six” publishers to keep its entire e-catalog off-limits to libraries. Publishers have worried that free library downloads could lead to lost sales, while libraries have advocated for the largest possible selection.

“We’ve been having conversations with libraries for a long time, trying to come up with something that we felt would work for us. And I think we finally found the key pieces,” Simon & Schuster’s president and CEO, Carolyn Reidy, said Monday.

One key piece: Allowing patrons to buy copies of a given book, with some of the proceeds going to the library.

Reidy said that any Simon & Schuster release, old or new, that’s available commercially as an e-book will be offered to libraries. That means current titles such as Jodi Picoult’s “The Storyteller”and such classics as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

Reidy added that she hopes to expand the number of libraries before the trial period ends.

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