Feb 12, 2012

Publishers Continue to Drop out of the Library Ebook Market

On Thursday Penguin announced that they were ending their cooperation with the digital library distributor Overdrive.  This brings the count of publishers refusing to work with Overdrive to 5.  This brings the count of publishers who will work with Overdrive to 1, Random House.  And before you go and start singing their praises, Random House has announced that they are raising their prices in March.  This price increase is one factor that caused Penguin to drop out. Here is the ALA's announcement of the Penguin's reasoning

A key issue that arose in each meeting is the degree to which “friction” may decline in the ebook lending transaction as compared to lending print books. From the publisher viewpoint, this friction provides some measure of security. Borrowing a print book from a library involves a nontrivial amount of personal work that often involves two trips—one to pick up the book and one to return it. The online availability of e-books alters this friction calculation, and publishers are concerned that the ready download-ability of library ebooks could have an adverse effect on sales.

 Another factor in Penguin's decision was its displeasure with Overdrive's third party affiliations, especially with Amazon.
Our friends over at  the Digital Shift have reported that Penguin is negotiating to allow the content that  is already in libraries' catalog to continue to be accessed but there will be no more new content.
So what does all this mean for libraries?  It means that they will be losing patrons who want to access digital media.  They're going to point their Kindle Fires at Amazon (as if you could point those things at anything else) and buy their ebooks for competition killing low prices or rent them for even cheaper.
Cue tumbleweeds in library.
The Librarian in Black has created a nice poster which can be downloaded to show your displeasure with publishing houses to your patrons.

Source, The Digital Shift, Librarian in Black

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