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Macmillan Publishing and E-Book Restrictions To Libraries - bad news for e-readers

abasketabasket 19025 replies852 postsRegistered User Senior Member
Kindle and other ebook readers....what do you think about this very strict change from Macmillian? Sort of an embargo on ebooks of a new title that libraries can buy?
https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/ala-statement-new-macmillan-library-lending-model/

Our local library blog explained it this way below (in other words, libraries buy a single copy of an ebook at higher prices than a single user - and that purchase has to be renewed after 2 years:
"Another common misunderstanding is difference in pricing. The eBook is typically more expensive on a per-copy basis than its paper counterpart, despite accompanying lending rules. Libraries also pay higher prices for eBooks than consumers.

For example, “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin Random House) costs Amazon shoppers $16.73 in hardcover version and $14.99 for Kindle edition. Libraries instead pay $55 for the eBook and $95 for the eAudiobook. The library’s eBook expires after two years.

Similarly, “Summer of '69” from Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown and Company) lists at $15.40 for hardcover and $14.99 for Kindle. Libraries pay $65 each for the digital book and audio version.

Toledo Library bought 16 and 10 eBook copies, respectively, of the two titles. Each still maintains a hold list of at least 100 requests. Licenses for both expire after two years."

While I have bought some books for my Kindle I borrow much more from the library. This is going to really cause problems.
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Replies to: Macmillan Publishing and E-Book Restrictions To Libraries - bad news for e-readers

  • maya54maya54 2078 replies87 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 12
    This effects me personally not at all but I am disgusted by the policy. . I can afford to pay for books and do so because I believe it’s important for those of us who can easily afford to do so to support authors. I am a huge e book reader and own many many e books as I much prefer then to hard copies. I also am a big supporter of libraries and donate to them because I think their mission of access to books for all is so important. I think this policy is terrible and the publishers should be ashamed.
    edited August 12
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  • abasketabasket 19025 replies852 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^^Well said.

    The examples provided really helped me to understand what was being done and to be frustrated by it. It's also important for the public to know the expenses a library has - repeatedly over the years - whether they purchase hard copy books or ebooks.
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 709 replies13 postsRegistered User Member
    My daughter often waits months and months to get to her spot in the queue at the library for ebooks; I guess it’s going to get longer. There is no way we can afford to keep up with her pace of reading without the library. Sigh.
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  • kiddiekiddie 3324 replies212 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Here is some more information (I worked in a library so I know this). Many of the eBook library licenses are 2 years or NN checkouts (where NN is typically 26) and "hot" titles can cost $90 for the eBook. So for popular titles, your license may expire sooner than 2 years when you hit that number of checkouts, after having shelled out almost $100. The model is contrary to the physical book model, where libraries get the books at a great discount. I think the entire thing is ridiculous, publishers should be courting libraries not alienating them. The Librarians are fighting back right now (thus the article attached by OP). I haven't seen much publicity about this outside of "librarian" circles, maybe that would help the cause.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73779 replies3216 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 12
    @abasket this is off topic...but your OP has a nice larger font that the following posts. How did you do that?

    You can send me a PM...I just posted that here so you could see for yourself....
    edited August 12
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38586 replies465 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @thumper1 - check the Freezing Corn thread. The font in that OP is also larger than the font in the other threads!
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3566 replies40 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I believe we (adults in the around 50 ish or so) have ridden this massive wave of the birth of the internet and it's wild west years of dirt cheap and free stuff, maybe now we pay a premium for this library content (pick me, I would be delighted to pay extra for this service) or we wait. You can pay to join other E libraries, I think Brooklyn , maybe Houston, possibly many more. And for cheap, IMO. I suspect that a lot of users hold books they never read or discard after the first few pages. If that goes on the borrow count, that is something to think about.
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  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 1106 replies25 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Most libraries discard real books after a few years' use anyway.
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  • 4kids4us4kids4us 592 replies4 postsRegistered User Member
    I read something about this somewhere else recently and had no idea that was how the whole ebook/library thing worked. I have been a loyal library user since my youth, when my mother worked at our local library. I rarely buy books...probably only a couple times a year if I can’t find a library copy. I’m not the type who has to rush out and get the popular new releases right away. I usually will immediately put a hold on the book and just wait until it comes in (if there are long waits, I request both hard copy and ebook and just read whichever comes in first). I prefer hard books but read ebooks as well. One thing I didn’t realize is that there are only so many times an ebook can get loaned out—there are many times I will check out an ebook but then not end up reading it before it expires. I will definitely be more selective now and only check something out if I’m definitely going to read it. I’m the type who usually has at least 5-6 library books at any given time b/c I choose what to read next depending on my mood. For example, I may have read two mysteries in a row, but want to read a literary book next, or maybe one book was pretty dark and heavy so want a light book next.

    I don’t need to use an e-reader so if this new policy causes a strain on my library, most likely, I would cut back on my e-reading. I know for some, due to poor eyesight, etc, an ereader is necessary to continue to enjoy books so I’d rather let go of the convenience for me if it meant other library patrons could benefit from the service. What a shame. It will be interesting to see how this plays out b/w libraries and the publisher. Thanks for sharing this article.
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  • abasketabasket 19025 replies852 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Off topic response: it appears that the first post of every thread is in a larger font?
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  • kiddiekiddie 3324 replies212 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes library circulation is a strange thing. If you check out a book (physical or eBook), the library has no idea if you actually read the book or not. Lots of books get checked out and never read (we are all guilty of this). Patrons may not "return" an eBook after they finish it (or decide not to read it), because they rely on the feature that automatically returns the eBook after a certain number of days (when the load period ends). So, eBooks may be unavailable to other patrons, even though the current patron is done with it, and "checkouts" are charged when nobody reads the eBook.
    @4kids4us Despite your good intentions, libraries don't want you to change your reading/checking out habits, what they want is a fair deal from publishers.
    Studies have shown that libraries actually boost book sales. People feel that the must trusted person to get a book recommendation from is a librarian.
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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 16806 replies156 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    There are always the half price books stores. I often see pretty new releases there.
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  • LennonLennon 118 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 13
    "Similarly, “Summer of '69” from Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown and Company) lists at $15.40 for hardcover and $14.99 for Kindle. Libraries pay $65 each for the digital book and audio version.

    Toledo Library bought 16 and 10 eBook copies, respectively, of the two titles. Each still maintains a hold list of at least 100 requests. Licenses for both expire after two years."


    Am I reading correctly that the library paid $65 for one ebook, that can be loaned out about 50 times over two years before having to be replaced? So the price per read is basically competitive better than the price per copy of a HC or kindle price above. And probably more to the point is what your library is charged for a new hardcover - is that the price you listed or was that the price on Amason? What do you think is a fair price/policy? Someone mentioned the Wild West days of the internet when everything was free/low priced-I thought that was a really good comment. Books have value! I think after years of comments where people were bemoaning the end of printed books we are seeing publishers pushing back. I think magazine publishers really devalued their work by giving so much away free online-so that's a cautionary tale. Magazines are folding at an alarming rate. Book publishing is not really a high margin/high profit business! So publishers tread carefully. Worse than an expensive bestseller for me, is the case where you are paying for a small mid-list gem title-where it won't be "hot" and won't be in constant rotation, but the library still wants to make it available. There's a lot to juggle on every side. Also-I know publishers really value libraries-they are a huge part of the business. I see threads on twitter where people don't understand that taking the book out of the library is really JUST AS GOOD as buying it in a store, if you have a friend who is an author. It all counts at the end of the day.
    edited August 13
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  • kiddiekiddie 3324 replies212 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Just a note - typically it is 26 checkouts over the two year period - so not 50 times a year as stated. Libraries try to have all sorts of titles and spending $15 on a hardcover that might only go out a few times is not as risky as spending $60 on an eBook that nobody ends up wanting to read.

    Also, for those big name books (like the latest James Patterson), a library might "rent" extra physical copies to meet the initial demand for these titles and then return the rented books once the title is no longer popular. This saves both money and shelf space, and cuts done on the huge waitlist we all dread. These book rentals are even cheaper than buying the physical book. There is no equivalent for an eBook, so a library can not afford to temporarily stock up on "where the crawdads sing" eBook copies to meet the current demand. If they did, they wouldn't be able to offer a variety of eBook titles, since the "hot" ones would eat up their budget. Plus the publishers charge a premium for these popular titles on eBook.

    Also, Libraries do buy paperbacks at really low prices. Their shelf life is not as long, but it can inexpensively meet a public need. Again, no equivalent in the eBook market.

    The digital magazine market is completely different. Libraries buy eMagazine subscriptions, but unlike eBooks, multiple users can "read" an eMagazine at the same time.
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  • LennonLennon 118 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    kiddie wrote: »
    Also, Libraries do buy paperbacks at really low prices. Their shelf life is not as long, but it can inexpensively meet a public need. Again, no equivalent in the eBook market.

    What will happen when Summer of 69 or Where the Crawdads Sing come out in PB? Will they offer the libraries a lower priced ebook then to match the pb price or no-it just stays at the initial price from the HC sale?

    What do you think a fair policy/pricing would be?

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  • kiddiekiddie 3324 replies212 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    eBook prices generally do not vary from the initial one at publication (or eBook offer date since the publishers are now trying to not do eBook libraries sales at the publication date). They do occasionally have sales or promotions for eBooks for libraries. For example, I have seen end of year sales, generally these are for the less popular titles.
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  • dragonmomdragonmom 5871 replies154 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 14
    Ok, I’m going into my Brooklyn Public Library account and changing my settings from “auto checkout when hold is available” to “notify when hold is available”.
    D2 gave me a year access to BPL for Christmas and I have read dozens of books since then but I have had several expire before I had time to read them.
    The 26 reads seems standard. My school district let’s staff members check out real or ebooks and the high school library gets some very good titles, often with shorter wait times than the public library. The librarian there told me about the 26 checkout thing when I first signed up. I used to work in a school library, and if a kid actually reads the book, 26 checkouts is about when the book is worn out.
    edited August 14
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  • abasketabasket 19025 replies852 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I didn't realize this! At least I didn't absorb this info the first time around:
    "new restriction is that it isn't just one e-book per library facility, it's one e-book per library system. " So locally we have 20 brick and mortar library branches - they only get ONE new release ebook to serve all 20 branches!

    This does not allow urban (or any) library systems to universally serve their community.

    If I really want a new release I will buy it - because with this rule I honestly don't think my turn will come around until the book is 2+ years old!
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