Tim Coates, founder of online e-lending service Bilbary, has pledged to raise money to donate to library campaign groups after blasting the UK's library service as “not organised” enough to benefit from a share of income from his business.
Officially launching Bilbary in America today, Coates, a former Waterstones m.d, announced US libraries participating in his online e-book lending and selling service could earn a share of the income from e-book sales made from their websites through Bilbary, for the benefit of the libraries themselves and their patrons.
He said: “It is practical in America because state library services have the organisation to cope with it. It isn't practical in the UK because the library service is simply, in our view, not organised at all.”
Consequently, in the UK, Coates said Bilbary would "try to find a way to raise the same money" to help campaign groups across the country save libraries from closure. “Instead of spending it with the official library service, we will work with groups trying to operate and save individual libraries, like Kensal Rise,” Coates said.
Speaking in The Independent today, Coates said: “We'll put in as much as we can…We want to make a point. The library system in Britain is not working." He added: “We've seen appalling council management. Some have just washed their hands of the libraries and said the community can keep it running if they want to. We'll work with those campaigning to keep the libraries open.”
Bilbary will launch in the UK and Europe next month with 900,000 titles.