I believe the fears of these publishers areunfounded. It is my sincere belief that libraries aidthe sale of books much more than they harmthem. And recent studies by the Pew Charitabletrust back me up. Libraries introduce readers toauthors. People will take a chance on an author they can check out for free at the library and if they like them they may very well purchase it or their next book. The studies show that readers areboth borrowers and buyers. It is not an either or equation.Here is a snapshot of the stance of the BigSix concerning libraries and eBooks:
Random House. This publisher marks up their eBooks up to 300% for libraries. No, that isnot a typo. What you can buy for $19.99 on Amazon could cost us $59.97. Can’t buy toomany copies at that price so we get only thetop 10.
Simon & Schuster. This publisher won’t selleBooks to libraries. No Evanovich for our pa-trons. Sorry.
Harper Collins. This library will sell the eBooksto libraries, but only for 26 checkouts. Thenthe library must rebuy the book. As if it is ahardcover wearing out after use. Librarieswere very mad at this move and the consorti-um voted to boycott Harper Collins. However,compared to not selling, or a 300% markup, itseems positively sane even though the prem-ise is nonsensical on its face. (Ever try to re-place a hardcover after a couple years? Out of print. And isn’t the point of an eBook is that itdoesn’t wear out?). My opinion is the boycottshould end. Enough is enough and our pa-trons deserve to get these titles. And whenthe fervor dies down we don’t have to repur-chase. Note: Kearney Public Library doespurchase these eBooks on our own when pos-sible. Also, there are books we purchased be-fore this went into effect.
Penguin. Penguin use to provide backlisteBooks to Overdrive and we have the ones wepurchased then. Penguin felt that when Over-drive made a deal with Amazon to download tokindles by routing through the Amazon sitethey made it too easy. So, the only Penguinbooks available are ones already purchasedbefore they withdrew. Recently Penguin didnegotiate a deal with Queens Public Library toprovide eBooks to that library.
Macmillan. This publisher also won’t selleBooks to libraries.
Hachette. This publisher won’t sell eBooks tolibraries.So without most of the Big Six what isavailable? Overdrive works with well over 200smaller publishers including Allen & Unwin,Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Little, Brown andCompany, McGraw-Hill, Pottermore (HarryPotter), Thomas Nelson Inc., Tyndale House,and Zondervan. Some of these publishers arepretty large even if they don’t make the BigSix. This makes Overdrive the source with thebest selection for libraries.What does the future hold for eBooks? Iam going to be optimistic and predict that with-in five years libraries will be able to providebooks from every publisher. I really believethat most publishers want to work with librariesand that they will come to a compromise thatwill benefit everyone involved. My advice tofrustrated patrons is this: write to the publish-ers and complain. If everyone does this theywill respond. Meanwhile, enjoy what is availa-ble and support your local library.
System Equipment:The cutting machines and eReaders areavailable for loan beginning in December. If you would like to borrow them, please con-tact the System Office.