We're honored that Publisher's Weekly named The Palace Project a Top 10 Library Story of 2021. Funded by a $5 million investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Palace Project is a division of LYRASIS, working in strategic partnership with Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). LYRASIS and The Palace Project are committed to building a digital future for libraries. Learn more here.
DPLA Signs Amazon, Forms Palace Project with LYRASIS
At the end of 2020, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) confirmed that it was close to signing an agreement with Amazon Publishing to make its e-books and digital audiobooks—some 10,000 titles in all—available to libraries via the DPLA’s digital platform. And though it would take another six months, in May 2021 the parties successfully sealed the deal.
The agreement marks Amazon Publishing’s first foray into the digital library market, after years of criticism for withholding its digital content. DPLA reps told PW that Amazon Publishing e-books are now being added to the catalog, with some titles currently available to libraries and more being added on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, in a recent update, DPLA said it is also making progress on a potential agreement for Audible titles—a potentially huge breakthrough for libraries.
Meanwhile, in yet another major development, DPLA and LYRASIS announced in June that they had joined forces (and had secured $5 million in additional funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation) to charter the Palace Project—a strategic initiative to “develop and scale a robust suite of content, services, and tools for the delivery of e-books, audiobooks, and other digital media.” The effort will be spearheaded by Michele Kimpton, who negotiated the Amazon deal in her prior role DPLA, and now serves as LYRASIS senior global director.
Palace Project executives say the effort will build on an existing collaboration between DPLA and LYRASIS using an open source code designed and developed by the New York Public Library. As part of the initiative, the DPLA’s nascent digital marketplace for libraries, formerly the DPLA Exchange, has been rebranded under the Palace Project. So, too, has SimplyE, the free, open source user-facing library e-reader app developed by the NYPL, which will become the Palace app.
And that’s not all: the DPLA/LYRASIS announcement came just days LYRASIS announced the acquisition of BiblioLabs, the innovative Charleston, S.C.- based library technology firm and creator of the BiblioBoard e-book platform—another move clearly undertaken with an eye toward empowering libraries. “LYRASIS sees Palace as an unprecedented opportunity for libraries to be digital leaders within their communities,” said LYRASIS CEO Robert Miller in a June statement.
How these ambitious plans shake out in 2022 remains to be seen. But in a surging digital library market dominated by leading platform OverDrive, the moves represent a significant next step in the pursuit of a “library-centered” digital platform.