Bilbary offers link-up for schools

A new scheme to sell e-books through schools could benefit school libraries, according to Bilbary founder Tim Coates.

The former Waterstones m.d. plans to sell Bilbary e-books through school websites, with a percentage of the revenue made from sales going to benefit school libraries.

Coates recently introduced a similar scheme to help raise money for campaign group Friends of Kensal Rise Library, which is hoping to turn the building into a community-run library following its closure by Brent Council.

He said: "It's an idea we've been trying in the US, where we run it in the libraries of several different states. Now, with the new school term starting we're hoping to make it available to as many schools as possible in this country."

He added: "A school library is limited in what it can make available. We can offer a much wider range of books, which is the advantage of the technology. It's very simple to apply, it can be done very quickly and start helping the school right away.

"A lot of schools are struggling to fill up their shelves. If young readers are coming to us for books and it raises money for the school, everyone stands to benefit."

Sally Duncan, assistant director of the School Library Association, said: "Anything that gets school libraries up and running and makes some excitement for libraries, we are very much in favour of."

Bilbary has already forged partnerships in US states including Kansas, Colorado and California, offering books through links on library websites. The Bilbary site currently contains 420,000 e-books titles, with large publishers such as Random House supplying their own collections.