Publishers and Libraries Struggle over Terms of E-Books – NYTimes.com
As the battle continues about ebook pricing, I wonder how much more publisher and libraries are going to continue this argument. Taking a step back on the issue, it’s not as if all books are now ebooks. And it’s not as if all publishers are being a$$es with their ebook pricing and restrictions. There will be change which is no doubt but there will come a time when both parties will realize, there is going to be some type of compromise.
Below, Julie talked about the perfect library book. Digital books are a godsend as a copy of the original source material will never wither away like its paper counterparts. However, as a consumer, if I was told that I would only have 26x to play, listen or read something that I bought, why would I want to buy it in the first place? This is what is being told to libraries.
Playing devil’s advocate, publishers have a right to control their products the way they see fit. This is one of the perks of having a free market. The old saying, “Build a better mouse trap..”, could not better explain the publisher’s point of view.
So where is the happy medium???
1) Good – Publishers charge whatever you want to libraries for your ebook provided, there is no DRM. Once the library buys it, it is theirs to do what ever they like. You can not complain by the loss of revenue once you set the price. This option would be unlikely since many libraries have very little funds when it comes to buying new books and other media.
2) Better – If we go with this option whereby publishers set limits, they need to reduce their cost to the libraries. There is no wear and tear for the ebook. Publishers are not going worry about delivering or dealing with book returns when they are not sold. Libraries could afford to get his option provided the price is comparable to the life of a traditional book. Libraries can pay a little bit more since these materials require less manpower when checking and out.
3) Best – Publishers need model their digital products much like Netflix and Rhapsody. One low month price will grant access to all their ebooks. The bonus for, not so much libraries, the patrons would be able to discover authors they may not know about before. Each publishing house has their big hitters that will draw their fans instantly but really its the smaller names that can get the best exposure and possibly expand revenue. How many times I’ve come across a movie on Netflix that I never heard of, watched it and then rave about to my friends and colleagues. Now, imagine the same with ebooks. If I’m going to be nickeled and dimed for everything, you are going to get less in the long run from me. If I discover something that I want to keep, set a rate with option to buy.
I strongly believe, option 3 would be the best solution for all parties. Plus, this would help with curbing, not ending, piracy but that is a topic for another conversation.
As Library E-Books Live Long, Publisher Sets Expiration Date
By JULIE BOSMAN
Imagine the perfect library book. Its pages don’t tear. Its spine is unbreakable. It can be checked out from home. And it can never get lost.
Raymond McCrea Jones/The New York Times
The value of this magically convenient library book — otherwise known as an e-book — is the subject of a fresh and furious debate in the publishing world. For years, public libraries building their e-book collections have typically done so with the agreement from publishers that once a library buys an e-book, it can lend it out, one reader at a time, an unlimited number of times.
Last week, that agreement was upended by HarperCollins Publishers when it began enforcing new restrictions on its e-books, requiring that books be checked out only 26 times before they expire. Assuming a two-week checkout period, that is long enough for a book to last at least one year.