Random House Raises E-Book Prices for Libraries as Much as 300 Percent
March 5, 2012 10:14 AM
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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
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,
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.
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RE: Purpose of libraries in the digital age?
3/6/2012 8:16:33 AM
The problem is with the digital format, not the book. Supply and demand and all that.
Everything that is digital is in unlimited supply. It can be copied to infinity and back at virtually no cost. The only "resources" a store uses now to sell digital stuff is elecricity and bandwidth. The cost of either these days doesn't even compare with the profits they make.
Let's save the fact that 97% of the world's money is digital for later.
That's a whole lot different from having to turn a tree into 500 pages of paper, just for 1 copy of a book. You get more books from a tree, but you get the idea.
An author should be compensated according to the quality of his work yes but the manner in which that happens doesn't have to be simply sales of a book. Don't forget that money is a barrier of entry - if your book costs alot of money, alot of people won't buy it, even if they think it's worth it.
While when it's free, your work becomes it's own advertisement. Then you go do book signings, conferences, TV-shows perhaps. That's where the money come from. Same with musicians, the music should be posted online for free then the money comes from touring and concerts.
Movies are a bit trickyer, maybe movie stars will have to settle for less then millions and millions per production. But merchandise is still a good way to make a tidy profit. If the movie stars want to make a few extra bucks they can always do theatre. They are supposed to be Actors, aren't they? (and no looking confused isn't "acting". It's "being clueless").
Rather then abandoning the biggest advance in technology ever to go back to dark age systems ruled by elites (where wealth makes the new nobility), i'd like us to make another step forward to a star trek like future, where we all work to better outselves, and nothing more. The first step: Giving up insane profits for yourself to get reasonable profits and more content for everybody in return.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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