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  (Source: bookyurt.com)
Libraries are upset by the cost of e-book lending, which has now tripled

Book publisher Random House has tripled the price of many of the e-book titles it sells to libraries, and the understandably the decision is raising quite a few eyebrows.

"The first thing that popped into my head was that Random House must really hate libraries," said Kathy Petlewski, a librarian from Plymouth.

Last month, Random House announced that it would be making some changes to the way it sells e-books to libraries, including price increases. But libraries didn't expect cost boosts as high as 300 percent, where no titles are offered under $25. Some even go as high as over $100 per title.

While the price hike is a significant one, Tech Crunch made the argument that book publishers are trying to create a model with selling e-books that somewhat resembles the model it had with physical books. E-books can easily be duplicated and can never be damaged, meaning libraries never pay for replacements. While publishers win by being able to deliver e-books to several markets faster, they're now looking to benefit a little more in the financial aspect.

However, libraries are really the ones that stand to lose, since they are already battling with funding issues. There are also other services like Amazon's Kindle Owners Lending Library, which allows Amazon Prime members to borrow up to one book per month for free without any due dates. The e-books are downloaded right to the Kindle device once selected.

Random House may have put libraries in a tough spot, considering many popular titles have come from the publisher, but it's not the only one giving libraries a hard time. For instance, Hachette and Macmillan have only made part of their list of e-book titles available to libraries, HarperCollins puts a 26-use expiration on its library e-books, and others like Simon&Schuster and Penguin don't even let libraries lend out their e-books.

Some major publishers have acted up in the past as well, potentially harming any competition. Last year, the European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into whether Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing France), Harper Collins (News Corp., U.S.A.), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., U.S.A.), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany) have been practicing anti-competitive tactics with the help of Apple. 
 
In December 2011, the U.S. Justice Department climbed aboard the investigation as well.

Source: Tech Crunch



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By nafhan on 3/5/2012 12:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
The free computer access is pretty important. There are some things cannot be done without internet access, but there are still a lot of people who don't have a laptop, etc. I'm pretty sure that hardware will eventually be so cheap/free that this will no longer be necessary.

In the future, the main thing that a library provides today (public access to various types of information), will still be important; it just won't necessarily need to be done from a physical location.

Really, though, how online libraries will/do work is a big question. With physical books, libraries are inherently inconvenient compared to purchasing and owning (for most). So, they didn't have a huge impact on publishers (plus, IP law regarding lending tends to work out better for physical goods). Online libraries, on the other hand, can only be inconvenient by design. How inconvenient must they be before publishers are OK with them? It's a question that will only become more important.


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