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As of March 2005, the Mind Like Water-Follett
Library Initiative is temporarily closed to new participants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Minimum requirements to participate

  1. You must be either the author or the publisher of the ebooks.

  2. The ebooks must be in PDF format.

  3. The ebooks must have an assigned ISBN.

Rights to ebooks

You must be either the author or the publisher of any ebooks included in this initiative. If you have a publisher and want to sign up yourself, please be sure your contract allows this (and see Recordkeeping and royalties below).

All right, title and interest in the ebooks and the ownership of all intellectual property, including copyrights and trademarks, contained in or used in connection with the ebooks remain the property of the authors or publishers. In no event will Mind Like Water or Follett obtain any right or interest in such intellectual property unless explicitly granted.  

PDF format

Your ebook must be in PDF format (capable of being read on a Windows-based computer), and must be in Adobe Acrobat version 1.2 or later. If you need help converting your book to PDF format:

  1. You can use Adobe's Online Conversion Utility for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.
    For more information, click here.
  2. Mind Like Water will convert your ebook, which must be provided to us in a single Word or HTML file (prices for this service are on the order form).

Pdf files must not have ANY security protections. Follett will set the security parameters at their end. Authors and publishers can request security above those protections Follett automatically sets. See Digital rights management below.

If you would like to read in advance the instructions for submitting pdf files, click here


The ebook must have an assigned ISBN (International Standard Book Number). Please note that each format or binding of a book must have its own ISBN (i.e. hardcover, paperbound, e-book format, etc). Also, once assigned, an ISBN can never be reused.

The ISBN does not have to appear in the pdf file, but can be submitted separately as metadata. 

If you  need an ISBN:

  1. You may order a block of 10 ISBNs (minimum number) from Bowker for $225:
  2. Mind Like Water will provide an ISBN (prices for this service are on the order form).

Library Initiative Signup Deadline

Mind Like Water will submit files to Follett in batches approximately the 15th of each month. Sign up by the 1st of the month and your files will be sent with that month's batch.

Annual fee

By signing up for this offer you agree to pay for an entire year of access to Follett. You also agree to be billed on an annual basis while you are receiving access to Follett. You must notify us if you choose to opt out. Pro-rated refunds will not be made. If you opt out, your ebook will be removed from Follett's database upon completion of the paid year unless you request an earlier removal.

Procedure following placement of order

Upon placing your order:

  1. You will receive confirmation of payment by email.

  2. This confirmation email will include a link to the form you will need to fill out to provide us information so that we can submit your titles to Follett and create your profile page for the Mind Like Water eBook Catalog

  3. It may take up to a week to have your profile page finalized and linked within the eBook Catalog. You will then receive an email with instructions for submitting your pdf files.

Follett catalogues/ebook sales

eBooks will be made available to libraries through Follett as follows:

  • BWI (Book Wholesalers, Inc.), a full-service book vendor to public libraries. This Follett division's book catalogue, called TitleTales, is made available for free to the 16,421 public libraries in the United States.
  • Follett Library Resources, the largest supplier of books to K-12 schools. This Follett division's book catalogue, called TitleWave, is made available for free to the 93,861 school libraries in the United States.

Titles are automatically placed in both catalogues. 

Libraries may purchase ebooks through the catalogues TitleTales and TitleWave, which list books of all binding types (hardcover, paperback, ebook, etc.). Libraries do not have to have any ebook lending platform specific to Follett in order to purchase ebooks from these catalogues. Follett simply acts as an ebook vendor. (Note: sales are only made through Follett's catalogues, not through Mind Like Water's web site.)

PLEASE NOTE: Follett's catalogues are strictly for use by LIBRARIANS only! 

Turnaround time from when a file is submitted until it appears in the catalogues

Currently, Mind Like Water is submitting titles to Follett in batches approximately the 15th of each month. Those titles should appear in catalogues by the end of that month. 

Duration ebooks will remain in Follett's catalogues

Unless an author or publisher wishes to pull a title, titles will remain in Follett's catalogues indefinitely.

Providing an updated file

If you wish to submit an updated file for your book to Follett, and you believe the revision was minor and the book does not require a new ISBN, you may do so, for no additional cost, no more than once during your billing year (i.e., during your paid year of access to Follett). In this case, where there is no new ISBN, Follett will replace the original file with the new file in the catalogues. (However, libraries that have already purchased the title will not receive the new file.)

A new ISBN is required for a revised edition of a book. In this case, because this is a new book, the title will be added to the catalogues. In other words, the title will appear twice, as different editions. You will need to place an order again through Mind Like Water, as this is a new book. 

Marketing of catalogues to libraries

According to Follett, Follett is ubiquitous, especially in the K-12 school community through Follett Library Resources. There is no one in the school library business that doesn't know about Follett. Follett is the the largest school library distributor in the country by far and has been in business for over 100 years.

The public library division (BWI) is newer and smaller, but growing nicely and has a superb reputation in the industry.

Follett is a major presence at all major trade and library shows, and the divisions (e.g., Follett Library Resources, BWI) advertise in all the major trade publications.

The individual divisions control all their own marketing endeavors. The marketing push for ebooks has been to alert customers that ebooks are now available along with print, etc. books in Follett's catalogues; and to let customers know about ebooks' ease of use. The Follett Corporation works with over 5,000 publishers.

Libraries' use of Follett's catalogues

A librarian can search for a particular book within a catalogue by selecting from numerous criteria on a form. The form includes such criteria as author name, publish date, ISBN, reviewed by a particular source, keyword, etc. From the search results page, the librarian can click on a title and open the pdf file containing the book. The librarian then is allowed to perform 15 clicks within the book. For example, the librarian could click on the Table of Contents bookmark, click the Forward button to read pages of the book, do a keyword search within the book, etc. 

Follett will add a full MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) record once a title has been purchased by a library. If a title has been reviewed by one of the review sources librarians can select as a search criterion, a MARC record will be added even before a title has been sold. 

Digital rights management and library lending

Ebooks purchased by libraries through Follett are available to library patrons in a one ebook/one user checkout system similar to print library books. A library patron can read an ebook that has been checked out in two ways: (1) view in a browser and (2) download to a PC or any ebook reader that supports Adobe Acrobat Reader software. 

View in Browser: The browser shows the book one page at a time in a browser window. Each page is actually an image of the page. Text on a page cannot be highlighted or selected. The page cannot be edited or copied. Conceivably, a patron could save a page image by right clicking on the image and selecting "save picture as" (this function cannot be disabled in the browser). The print facility is limited to "File -> Print."

Download: A book that is downloaded is protected by Acrobat Digital Rights Management security. The downloaded book is encrypted and an electronic "key" is also sent that allows the patron to view the book for the designated borrow period (set by the library). This "key" contains restrictions regarding selecting text, copying, and printing. Pages can only be copied one at a time. The Print button in Acrobat Reader is disabled (however, performing screen shots using the Windows Print Screen button is not restricted). The "key" stops working at the end of the borrow period (the patron receives a message that the book has expired), and the book is then available again for check out at the library. Although the file still resides on the patron's PC or ebook reader, it is scrambled and is no longer viewable. Authors and publishers submitting titles will be solely responsible for specifying any security permissions that go beyond what Follett currently specifies: unlimited copying and no printing.

According to the VP of the Follett Library and School Group, they have not had any concerns at all with the security protections Follett uses for titles in their catalogs.


Follett has a non-exclusive license to market and sell the ebooks to kindergarten through twelfth grade public schools (TitleWave) and public libraries (TitleTales) through its proprietary on-line ordering systems; and, alone or as part of any other works, through Follett’s ordering web sites and online databases, using any electronic method now known or later developed. Mind Like Water will deliver to Follett, as Follett requests from time to time, any cover and internal artwork, along with any marketing, advertising or promotional materials as Follett may need. To the extent necessary to exercise its license, Follett may alter the format of the ebooks with Mind Like Water's prior consent (which Mind Like Water would obtain from the author or publisher who submitted the ebook), which shall not be unreasonably withheld. In addition, Follett may convert the ebooks into any required electronic format for storage and retrieval purposes. In no case will Follett alter or remove any copyright notices, trademarks, or other proprietary rights, notices or legends contained in the ebooks. 


Follett has the right to distribute such marketing data in Mind Like Water's possession (requested by Mind Like Water from authors and publishers submitting ebooks) regarding the ebooks, including cover art, excerpts, and review information, as well as trademarks, service marks, trade names and logos and metadata, solely to promote sales of the ebooks. Follett may make copies of the ebooks to use internally solely for the purpose of evaluating marketing opportunities to promote the sale of the ebooks. Follett has sole discretion with respect to the marketing and promotion of the ebooks. Mind Like Water will provide Follett with metadata and other marketing data with each ebook. Mind Like Water and Follett will use commercially reasonable efforts to keep the ebooks free from content that is illegal, infringes on rights of third parties, is obscene, or may, in the  determination of Follett, expose Follett or its affiliates to civil or criminal claims of any nature. Follett reserves the sole right to immediately remove without notice any and all ebooks, digital content, marketing materials or any other data Follett determines may violate any law, infringe upon any third parties rights, are obscene or otherwise objectionable. 

List price

Authors and publishers will be asked to suggest a list price for their ebooks. Follett may, at its sole discretion, suggest a different list price at which it will sell the ebooks. This may occur when (1) an ebook is priced substantially higher or lower than its print version, or (2) the ebook is priced extremely low (e.g., less than $5.00 or free). According to Follett, libraries are used to seeing electronic and print versions priced comparably.

Recordkeeping and royalties

Follett will retain 50 percent of ebook sales. The remaining 50 percent will be paid to Mind Like Water, who will in turn distribute these royalties to the authors and publishers who submitted titles. Mind Like Water does not retain any royalties. 

Follett will maintain complete and accurate records covering all ebook sales transactions. Follett will provide information on sales to Mind Like Water on a monthly basis. Upon receipt of this information, Mind Like Water will send an invoice to Follett for payment of royalties. Mind Like Water will distribute royalties once a month to the authors and publishers who had sales, as long as the payment is at least $25. Payment of royalties less than $25 will be deferred until this minimum amount has been met.

If you are an author who is signing up and you have a publisher, Mind Like Water can distribute your royalties to your publisher for subsequent distribution to you. Mind Like Water will not be responsible for determining the distribution of royalties between an author and publisher (i.e., payment will only be sent to one person).

Contents of ebooks submitted

Ebooks submitted to Follett through Mind Like Water must not contain matter that is obscene, hateful, racist, libelous, slanderous, infringing on rights of third parties, an invasion of privacy, or an unlawful appropriation of name or likeness. Content must not expose Mind Like Water, or Follett or its affiliates, to civil or criminal claims of any nature.  

Mind Like Water Monthly

By signing up for the Mind Like Water-Follett Library Initiative, you will receive Mind Like Water's newsletter, the Mind Like Water Monthly, by email if you do not already do so. In this newsletter, we will provide you with the information you need to help libraries select your ebooks once they are in Follett's catalogues. If you would like to "opt out," you may do so at any time by sending an email to newsletter@mindlikewater.com and putting "unsubscribe" in the subject line, or by replying to the email containing the newsletter and putting "unsubscribe" in the subject line. Archives of the newsletter are available online if you wish to access the newsletter that way.





visit Mind Like Water's
eBook Catalog for titles available through
& TitleTales catalogs.


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