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Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Much Do Libraries Pay For eBooks?

Why Do Libraries Pay More Money for e-Books?

Michael Kozlowkski - June 20, 2015

[Blogger's note: Ebook prices have some unexpected surprises, even as on ordinary consumer. I was interested in buying a science book this week, and decided when I saw the $78+ price on Amazon for paper, that I would probably not spend the money. But it turned out that iBooks had an electronic version (with some bonus animations) for $14.99. Clearly the market in ebooks is variable and pricing does not reflect production costs. Since ebooks do not make their way into secondhand bookstores and publishers restrict who can sells the ebook, we are in are more manipulated market for publishing than we have been in the past.]
I can understand the temptation for publishers who are heavily dependent on current bestsellers to up-price e-titles for libraries. When that pricing is tied to a multi-user model, there is certainly justification. With a one-patron-at-a-time model, however, it can be seen as gouging. Many librarians have pointed out to me that tying up so much of the budget on high-priced bestsellers has limited their opportunity to purchase midlist titles, even from the publisher involved. That, to me, seems counterproductive.

Libraries in Canada and the United States have been quite enamored with establishing digital collections. This includes audiobooks e-books, magazines, newspapers and video. 95% of all libraries in these two countries have an e-book collection and the costs are starting to add up. Predatory pricing by major publishers are pricing their e-books almost 500% more than the Kindle edition and libraries have had enough.
The simple truth is that there is no uniform landscape of e-book pricing for libraries. Some publishers only allow for an e-book to be borrowed 26 times before the library has to purchase it again. Others opt for the digital license to expire after a single year. Random House and Hachette charge between 100% and 500% more for an e-book over the Kindle or Nook edition.

<more at; related links: (The Ebook Pricing Wars. A former publisher's perspective.. October 20, 2015) and (Business Musings: Price Wars and Victims. August 5, 2015)>

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