#FairEbookPrices

You may be one of our library users who reads eBooks on OverDrive. Libraries are big promoters of reading, both regular books and eBooks, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to provide readers with enough new eBooks to satisfy the demand. Why? Libraries are charged 3-5 times more for eBooks than regular consumers, simply because publishers believe that we have a larger usage of these books than the average consumer. Is that fair? Libraries don’t think so, and neither should you.

Ce49kP_W8AQtQTzRecently, several key members of the Toronto Public Library, Ottawa Public Library, and Edmonton Public Library held a Twitter Chat to discuss this unfair pricing model, and then posted the chat on Storify.

It’s an interesting read, resulting in a few really good points:

  • even if you don’t read eBooks, this tough pricing model affects your library’s budget for buying other materials
  • this type of overpricing is unsustainable, even for libraries belonging to a consortia that allows us to stretch our budgets further
  • Independent eBook publishers have been leaders in providing reasonable pricing for libraries, but big publishers are still waging war
  • municipal governments are now joining in the fight to help libraries, but more needs to be done, especially if your local government isn’t aware of the problem

Yes, it’s true that publishers and authors need to be paid for the license just as they would for a hard copy book. Libraries can’t afford to purchase 26 copies of one book, and yet eBooks can be distributed repeatedly, giving the impression that publishers are not being paid for the number of people reading. It is simply not true.

Yes, libraries are charged more for lending fees for a book, but consider that libraries will often purchase an eBook, an audiobook, and regular print copy and a large print copy of ONE book.  And they do this multiple times. Therefore, the author and publisher are being paid for these sales, which might be more than they would have sold without a library purchase. Sometimes, libraries purchase books that are not even read. In the end, we hope it all evens out…both for us, our patrons, and the publishers.

Click on the photo above, or the link, to read the whole Twitter chat (start at the top and work through to the bottom if you’re not used to this type of format). And to find out more about eBook pricing, visit fairpricingforlibraries.org. 

What do you think about this issue?

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