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Macmillan tests selling e-books to libraries in two-year stretches

Jon Fingas , @jonfingas

Major publishers are taking wildly different approaches to resolving the woes surrounding e-book lending at libraries: they're experimenting with both the short-yet-cheap subscription as well as an expensive option to pay only once for perpetual use. Sure enough, we're now seeing the middle road. Macmillan plans to run a pilot project in the first quarter of the year that will charge libraries $25 per copy for a selection of 1,200 back catalog Minotaur Books titles, but give buyers better than usual lending rights for either two years or 52 loans, depending on the popularity. They'll only have permission to lend to one person at a time for each copy, although Macmillan's comments to LibraryJournal leave the door open to changing terms should the pilot struggle to gain traction. As it stands, the strategy could be expensive for libraries if they have to pay over and over again for a perennial favorite. It might, however, be palatable for those book lending outfits already planning to go all-digital.