University presses take control of ebook distribution

MIT Press and the University of Michigan Press have both announced plans to start selling their ebook collections directly to libraries by creating their own distribution platforms.

The publishers previously did not have a mechanism for selling to institutions directly. Instead, access to ebooks was largely brokered through third-party acquisition services such as EBSCO, ProQuest, OverDrive, Project Muse and JSTOR.

Amy Brand, director of MIT Press, said she had been thinking about how to move away from these third-party platforms, known as aggregators, for some time.

“We determined that the MIT Press brand was prestigious enough, and that the collection was large enough, that we could go it on our own,” she said. 

Not only do these platforms take a “significant percentage” of the revenue from ebook sales, they also create a barrier between university presses and their customers, said Brand. She’d like to build a closer relationship with the libraries that purchase from

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