The eBooks of Sue Grafton’s earlier alphabet series (Penguin or Random House published everything after P) are now available to the library market thanks to a recent decision by Macmillan to expand its available catalog to include the Holt and Metropolitan imprints. This is just for starters. There are a lot of other great books that no doubt will soon be requested.


"B" is for burglar "C" is for corpse


This article from Digital Shift covers the views and reactions of several key library personnel and advocates to the new subscription services I mentioned yesterday. It sounds like their offerings are heavy on self-published and public domain works, at least for now.

Here’s a quote:

As surveys by LJ and others has shown, regular library users tend to read many more books each year than the average U.S. consumer. They borrow more, buy more, and use e-readers more frequently. For now, [Massachusetts Library System Small Libraries Advisor] Chadwick said she thinks that these new subscription services will likely fold into many users’ reading habits without an adverse effect on libraries.


I hope that’s right.



It seems the latest development in the evolution of the eBook market is the subscription service – basically offering subscribers a large selection (hundreds of thousands of titles) for a monthly fee, with unlimited reading time for whatever title you can find.  Three players have jumped on the scene: Scribd, Oyster, and (naturally) Kindle Unlimited.  Limiting factors for these new services include lack of publisher cooperation and the fact that they tend not to get the real frontlist.  That is understandable, as the services’ low cost model prevent them from compensating publishers and authors sufficiently to carry the hottest new titles. Read here for more information.

Lately, popular authors and their publishers have been releasing novellas and other short, sometimes even experimental, works exclusively as eBook singles.  A good example that a librarian brought to my attention today was J. A. Jance’s Joanna Brady novella called The Old Blue Line, coming out next month only in eBook format.  There is no promising sign on the horizon that this content is coming to print any time soon, unfortunately.  At the moment it is also not available for us to purchase in OverDrive and 3M, but titles may appear later in them close to or after the publication date.

Here’s a link to a Forbes article  from last year that explains an economic motive for doing electronic only publication for shorter works. If you’re a glass half full kind of person, you might note that the likely alternative would be no availability at all for these, but that’s probably little consolation to the tantalized print reader and/or library borrower.


According to a study analyzed by Publisher’s Weekly, eBooks’ share of the total market actually dipped a bit between the first and second quarters of this year, after a rocket rise in previous years.  This could be a plateau on the way to further heights or this format may have settled at last.

In the coming year, we are investing significantly to develop more fully our e-collections, especially 3M, the new kid on the block.  This could include some retrospective development as well as keeping up with current frontlist demand.  We have spread out the selection of these so it is not falling all on one person.  The best way to “SINC” a title, however, is to go ahead and use the recommendation and wishlist features within OverDrive and 3M.  A recommend-to-library title in OverDrive is also much like a RINC, with an automatic notice for the recommending customer.  The ease and speed with which we can obtain electronic titles, assuming of  course they are available in the first place, is gratifying for all, and they will never be lost or damaged.  Romance readers seem to have taken especially to eBooks, which is a good thing because the print versions sometimes have a short life even if we can get them in print.   I welcome feedback particularly about the 3M display shelves, over which we have total control, but please remind customers this isn’t the whole collection!

A big thank you to all of you in the branches that help connect users to these resources every day!








Libraries and E-books

September 4, 2013

Cory Doctorow, blogger, journalist and science fiction author wrote Cory Doctorow: Libraries and E-booksin Locus online.

In this online perspective he wrote that he attended the ALA convention in June.

While I was in Chicago, I sat down with some of the ALA strategists to talk about how libraries are getting a raw deal on e-books. When libraries want to buy an e-book from the publisher, they find themselves paying as much as five times the price you or I pay for the same book. Literally – librarians are paying $60-80, and sometimes more, to include current release frontlist titles in their collections. Each of these e-books can only be lent to one patron at a time, which means that libraries are sometimes buying a dozen – or more – of these overpriced text-files.

ALA has launched a program called Authors for Library E-books  seeking to add author voices to those of librarians and readers in support of equitable access to digital content through libraries.  Doctorow suggests that authors join him in supporting this.

-Posting authored by Lorraine Burdick

OverDrive has just announced that as of May 8th, the entire digital catalog of Hachette titles will be available for public libraries to buy.  The model will be one “copy”/one user with no special restrictions.   That means there will be no metering or expiration to access.  Thanks to Jim for forwarding the official news release from OverDrive.  

According to Publisher’s Weekly, 3M will also have access to the catalog, but they have not yet confirmed this with us.

Hachette is the parent publisher of Little, Brown and Company and Grand Central Publishing, so this is thrilling news indeed.

Alex Cross, run    The forgotten      Robert Ludlum's The Bourne objective    Where'd you go, Bernadette : a novel   The casual vacancy

This week, Library Journal’s Barbara Hoffert analyzes trends in circulation and budgets of public libraries.  This is a survey of 175  libraries who responded to questions sent out to Library Journal subscribers.  Here is the link:

Materials Mix: Investigating Trends in Materials Budgets and Circulation.

Among those reporting, 65% of circulation was fiction vs non-ficion.  The top fiction genres were mystery, general, romance, and thriller; while non-fiction’s most popular subject areas were cooking, health, how-to, and arts/crafts.  No big surprises there.

More revealing, perhaps, are the discussions of eBooks, self-publishing, apps, and social media marketing opportunities.  One particularly interesting fact: eBook circulation was still only 3% of the total but grew close to 70% among libraries serving over 250,000 residents.

This information paints a panoramic backdrop against which we can highlight our own data from Collection HQ and other sources.

e-book prices special edition

September 26, 2012

Maybe the Little Professor could help…

Unnoticed by me,  last week OverDrive released an update on Hachette e-book pricing announcing that they had miscalculated the percentage on increases.   Rather than a 220 percent increase as initially reported HBG will be increasing their pricing by 104 percent.

We’ll do it but not because you TOLD us to it

Publishers Weekly is reporting that Macmillan has announced that they are close to finalizing the details of a pilot project  that would make their e-books available to libraries.

“We have been working hard to develop an e-book lending model that works for all parties, as we value the libraries and the role they play in the reading community,” reads a statement provided to PW. “We are currently finalizing the details of our pilot program and will be announcing it when we are ready, and not in reaction to a demand.”

By  demand they probably mean this.

posted by jim

e-book prices

September 14, 2012

Question:  How much does a library e-book cost?

  • About the same as a consumer e-book from Amazon or B & N around $10 bucks
  • A little bit more because it’s the library around the cost of a hardback book $30 bucks
  • Around the cost of buying a concert or sporting event ticket from a scalper or some other back alley guy who can charge pretty much any amount they want because they’ve got you over a barrel.

I’ll bet most people who don’t work at the library would choose the first answer.  Library folks might choose the second more often than not.  And a few would choose the 3rd option because otherwise what would be the point of writing this post.

So which one is the right answer?

All of them.

How is this possible?   Because when it comes to digital copies of their titles publishers tend to price things all over the map.   And  of course pricing can change at the drop of a hat.   Yesterday, OverDrive announced that Hachette Book Group will be changing it’s pricing model.

“Hachette will be raising its eBook prices on October 1, 2012 on their currently available eBook catalog (~3,500 eBook titles with release dates of April 2010 and earlier). On average prices will increase 220%. “

Let’s look at an example.

What Hachette and Barnes & Noble charge you and me $8.99

What Hachette and OverDrive charge libraries today $27.99

What Hachette and OverDrive will charge libraries after September 30th $89.99

What shouldn’t be lost in all of this is that other e-book vendors are going to charge exactly the same or about the same price as OverDrive does for Hachette titles.  We buy all of our e-books from OverDrive so I can’t verify that by looking elsewhere.  And there are plenty of other publishers who aren’t charging these kinds of prices, so I don’t want to paint all e-book publishers with the same brush.  Nor should Mr. Patterson take the heat for what his publisher decides to charge libraries.

So, we’re curious what do you think about prices in general?  And also what should libraries do?


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