Monday, March 05, 2012

Necessary Evil? Random House Triples Prices Of Library E-Books

Devin Coldewey - Friday, March 2nd, 2012 - TechCrunch

Devin Coldewey is a Seattle-based writer and photographer. He has written for the TechCrunch network since 2007. 

Amazon-Kindle1Random House, the world’s largest publisher of the kinds of books you and I read, has made some adjustments to the way it sells e-books to libraries. Notably, they have tripled the price of many titles. Librarians across the country are expressing their discontent.
The changes were telegraphed by an announcement a month ago that suggested prices would be going up soon, and most expected significant increases — but across the board popular genres and titles have gone up as much as 300%. Nothing is offered below $25, and some common titles are going for above $100.
As Kathy Petlewski, a librarian in Plymouth, puts it: “The first thing that popped into my mind was that Random House must really hate libraries.”
But the dismay at the major increase in prices is tempered by a sort of desperate gratefulness that the publisher is willing to play ball with libraries at all. The other big publishers have been less than generous: HarperCollins’ e-books “expire” after 26 uses, Hachette and Macmillan only make part of their list available, and others like Penguin and Simon&Schuster don’t allow library lending at all. So Random House, in a way, is the gold standard right now. They even make the library books available on the day they first go on sale.
(Incidentally, The Digital Shift has a great page describing publishers’ policies on this topic.)
For the full report link here.

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