Book publishing company Hachette has announced that they will be raising the wholesale price on their books to libraries by a whopping 220%, joining other publishers in the eBook pricing conspiracy against libraries and other consumers.
This article by the Kearney, Nebraska, Public Library directory explains why libraries may not be able to offer the latest eBooks, and why their selections may be limited.
- Random House marks up eBooks 300% for libraries.
- Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Hachette (three of the publishers involved in the dispute with Amazon) won’t sell to libraries at all.
- HarperCollins only allows 26 checkouts per book before requiring the library to purchase another—as if the book had worn out.* The library consortium voted to boycott them.
- Penguin is being childish over their dispute with Amazon and won’t allow any new books to be sold through Overdrive, the company that handles eBooks for many public libraries. Penguin has a separate deal with Queens Public Library.
* I’ve read several studies, both formal and informal, which indicate that the average library book lasts significantly longer than 26 checkouts. Two librarians created an amusing YouTube video showing the condition of several HarperCollins books checked out from 25 to more than 100 times.
This article discusses Houston Public Library’s policy of lending eBooks for only 14 days, as compared to 6 weeks for print books. I was less interested in the geo-centric Houston news than I was to learn that a public library lends books for 6 weeks! Wow! At the time this article was published, 235 patrons were waiting to check out one of the seven eBook copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and 74 were waiting to check out one of the sixteen copies of Grisham’s The Litigators.
A short news story referencing the 79-person waiting list for the eBook version of Fifty Shades of Grey at a Michigan public library. The incredible popularity of this poorly-edited book (which was originally Twilight fan-fiction on public message boards) speaks volumes regarding the potential market for the erotica genre in eBooks.
The National Reading Campaign in Canada sponsored, between 23 and 29 January, 2012, the second annual National Book Count. During this time eBooks made up 10% of books sold in English Canada. These numbers were compiled from a number of sources and compared with the 2011 numbers. Take a look at the press release, available at The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. The numbers are not necessarily perfect, especially as they are for only a single week, but they are interesting.