Mondadori and Horizons Unlimited – the Bologna-based company that runs MLOL (MediaLibraryOnLine), a network of more than 3,000 libraries in 15 Italian regions and in 4 foreign countries for the distribution of digital content – have reached an agreement to make the ebooks of the Mondadori Group available at Italian public libraries.
From next January, over 6,000 ebook titles from the catalogues of Edizioni Mondadori, Einaudi, Sperling & Kupfer and Piemme will be made available to the library system through the MLOL platform, adding to the 19,000 or so digital titles already available.
MLOL will manage a distribution channel for Mondadori aimed at all the (public, university and school) libraries in Italy and abroad, along with a dedicated shop and a series of tools that will make it possible to integrate the Mondadori digital titles with the catalogues of the libraries.
The ebooks produced by the Mondadori Group will be distributed on MLOL with the standard “one-copy-one-user” formula: in practice, a mechanism that simulates the library loan of printed books. This basic formula will enable single libraries to acquire a given title at full price and to make it available as a free remote download with a DRM of 14 days to users of the library. The aim of the Mondadori and MLOL project, however, is also to experiment in the future with new sales formulas based on the concept of “pay per view”.
“We are extremely pleased with this agreement,” declared Riccardo Cavallero, general manager of Trade Books at the Mondadori Group. “Libraries are a very valuable channel for the experience of digital reading that in this way will become even more open, shared and accessible. It means that ebooks can reach a wider public in an authentic process of democratisation,” Cavallero concluded.
“The entry of the Mondadori Group in the digital market for libraries completes a cycle begun by MLOL in 2009,” said Giulio Blasi, CEO of Horizons. “The inclusion of all of Italy’s leading publishers on MLOL marks a significant closing of the gap between the situation here and that in the United States, where 90% of public libraries and all academic libraries offer their users access to ebooks. Through MLOL almost half of Italian public libraries have access to the books produced by the country’s leading publishers. This means that Italy is among the leaders in Europe in the provision of digital library services, something of which we are extremely proud.”
According to Stefano Parise, President of the Italian Libraries Association (AIB), “this is an agreement that gives libraries access to the ebook catalogues of Italy’s leading publishing group. I hope that this example will encourage other publishers to do the same and to experiment with innovative formulas, while we wait for the legislative measures that will define the role and prerogatives of libraries also in the digital area. The AIB is committed to facilitating this development, in line with the recommendations of the international library organisations, the IFLA and EBLIDA.”