3M, Bibliotheca's largest competitor in the self-service and RFID sector, entered the e-book arena in May of 2011 with the announcement of its 3M Cloud Library. This e-book service includes several components: an increasingly large collection of e-book titles hosted in its cloud-based infrastructure; 3M Discovery Terminals that allow patrons to discover, browse, and check out e-books from kiosks within the library; and 3M eReaders that can be loaned to patrons who may not already have their own devices. 3M also provides support for their library e-book lending service to multiple mobile platforms, including Apple IOS devices (iPad, iPhone), those using the Android operating system, the Nook from Barnes and Noble, as well as Macs and PCs.
It has been just over a year since 3M's initial announcement, and it has made significant progress in attracting libraries to its e-book products. The State Library of Kansas was one early adopter and development partner. Libraries making recent announcements to adopt the 3M Cloud Library include the Pasadena Public Library and the Glendale Public Library, both in California. These libraries join a handful of others across the United States making early implementations of the 3M Cloud Library.
3M has also made progress in expanding the number of titles available through its platform. The company reports that its agreements with publishers now represent a total of around 200,000 titles. In addition to existing arrangements made in 2011 that brought in around 100,000 titles, agreements have been formed recently with Smashwords, including works from 40,000 independent authors (http://www.smashwords.com/); INscribe Digital (http://www.inscribedigital.com/), an e-book publishing service; Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, an academic and general interest publisher with over 1,500 titles; and the National Book Network (http://www.nbnbooks.com/).
3M is also part of a pilot project involving Penguin Group (USA), a Big Six publisher that that recently discontinued its e-book loan services. In a pilot project, Penguin is working with the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library to make its titles available through the 3M Cloud Library. Restrictions apply, including delaying the lending of titles until six months after publication and limiting the time that the titles can remain in the library's collection to one year, after which they need to be repurchased. Despite these restrictions, this pilot project makes available to patrons a large number of high-interest titles and re-engages a major publisher.