Actually, there was not that much happening in the Kindle world this last week, but I'll add a separate post that has more about aspects of The New iPad's retina display feature and what it means for buyers, as this seemed to dominate the news this last week.
One thing I had not seen were earlier articles on March 2 (DigitalShift's more detailed story) and 5 (a simpler summary from DailyTech) reporting on Random House's raising of e-book prices for libraries, by up to (and often) 300%.
' On Wednesday, Oberhausen bought Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith for $40 via OverDrive. On Thursday, the price was $120. The print version of the book, with the library’s discount, is a little over $20 (it retails at $40). For Blessings by Anna Quindlen the ebook price went from $15 to $45. '
Libraries are already struggling so the gist is that they will need to buy fewer copies and, worst of all, plan on filling orders (slowly) for most in-demand books but are planning to not buy, then, books which aren't mass-market types, which used to have a chance, at regular cost.
Of the Big6, four now do not offer e-books at all for public libraries: Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Penguin Group (no new e-books), and Hachette.
Harper Collins does allow their e-books in public libraries but wants the libraries to buy new copies after 26 loans.
Until this month, Random House was the lone Big 6 publisher willing to allow its ebooks in libraries without restriction.
Author/blogger Scott Marlowe keeps a listing of Publishing's Big 6: Who are they?
This includes information about their humongous number of imprints - "trade names a publisher uses when publishing in a narrower field."
To illustrate just how bad the situation is for libraries:
' “They’ve tripled their prices on every title. A book that a week ago we purchased for $28.00 now costs $84.00,” said Scarlett Fisher-Herreman, the technical services & collection development supervisor, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas, whose director, Gina Millsap, is seeking the presidency of the American Library Association. “I looked back at Random House titles we’ve purchased since December and looked up a number of titles, both new and titles they’ve had for years on Overdrive. Everything has tripled in price: kids, YA, adult, fiction, and nonfiction,” she said.
Fisher-Herreman, who had been bracing for an increase in the 50 percent range, said she found the tripling of price frustrating and surprising. For example, The 10 Easter Egg Hunters, a children’s title by Janet Schulman, was affordable at $8.99, but it now costs $26.97. '
And anyone trying to get a current, popular e-book will have seen how long the holds on those e-books are. I've seen them at 20 weeks out.
There's much more detail in the web story, and there are 78 comments, most of them (unlike most technews boards) with serious points to make, on either side.
Today's San Francisco Chronicle with Bloomberg, written by James Temple, has a Business Report and Commentary on the conflict between publishing and libraries on basic issues of copyright and ownership and what we should do to safeguard libraries. Penguin Group's concern over the "lack of friction" in the loaning of e-books comes up again and basically it means that publishers don't like borrowing being so easy, with no effort needed to even physically get to a library.
' The nature of digital books, however, gives publishers a new opportunity to assert greater control through technology, terms of service and pricing power. Libraries can't simply buy the virtual books and hand them out in the way they can with physical ones.
The Association of American Publishers and several of the companies in question didn't respond to inquires from The Chronicle. But they've argued in the past that lending e-books is a graver threat than physical ones, demanding a different set of restrictions, because of the lack of "friction."
In other words, to borrow and return a physical book, a person has to get themselves to an actual library at least twice. With digital, they can just as easily download a free book from the library, as they can a full-priced version from Amazon. '
The business report points out that libraries encourage lifelong reading habits, and publishers seem to ignore this reality.
Library law consultant Mary Minow argues, Temple says, that "to clear up any legal uncertainty and protect the privacy of library users...legislators need to amend federal copyright law to assert that libraries can own and lend digital books. Temple adds that "Others watching this space also think new legal protections are necessary to protect the role of libraries."
See the rest of the article at The San Francisco Chronicle.
Thanks to the Kindle Forum's Q for alerting us to this article.
Kindle Touch 3G, US-only Kindle Touch WiFi (US) Kindle Touch WiFi-Only, outside US
Kindle Keybd 3G (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G) K3 Special Offers K3-3G Special Offers DX
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published ones
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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