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?

A big story right now in the publishing world is a threatened Justice Department lawsuit against Apple and five of the “big six” publishers (namely, Hachette, MacMillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and HarperCollins, with Random House not included).  This follows on a class action submitted by a Seattle law firm last year.  The allegation is price fixing through the adoption of the agency model for ebooks, whereby Apple or other distributors take a 30% cut and allow publishers to set retail prices, thereby undermining the wholesale discount pricing model favored by…Amazon for instance.   It is against the law for large providers to collude to keep prices artificially high for consumers.

In this case, though, the collusion could be defensive and prompted by competition from Amazon’s popular Kindle and Amazon’s claimed ability to price low enough to stifle competitors, which could also be a potentially illegal practice if it became “predatory pricing” (though that seems difficult to prove under US law).  The charge of predation comes periodically from booksellers, publishers, and others.

There is a lot of interesting dispute about pricing models and which help and hurt what suppliers and consumers.

Price-fixing versus cut rate prices from one aggressive vendor? For whom should consumers really root?  It may be a case of Mothra vs. Godzilla.  Take your pick.


Posted by Darren

Press Release via: Digital Book World

Harry Potter eBooks to be distributed to Public and School Libraries through OverDrive
Bestselling series available for digital library lending for first time

(London, UK) – February 27, 2012 – Pottermore, the online experience and home of the Harry Potter eBooks created by J.K. Rowling and partnered by Sony, announced today it has entered into an exclusive worldwide eBook and digital audiobook distribution agreement with OverDrive for public and school libraries. Under the terms of the agreement, OverDrive, a leading global distributor of eBooks and digital audiobooks, will manage hosting and digital fulfillment for libraries for the Harry Potter collection of eBooks and digital audiobooks in English and more than 20 other languages to OverDrive’s growing network of over 18,000 public and school libraries worldwide.

Through local public library and school catalogues, OverDrive’s digital book lending service will promote to new and returning readers a popular way to access the official Harry Potter eBooks and digital audiobooks. The Harry Potter series has sold over 400 million copies worldwide and is widely credited with immersing an entire generation of young readers into books and reading. With this agreement, the seven books in the series will be available in digital formats for the first time for lending from public and school libraries.

Charlie Redmayne, Pottermore CEO, said:

“We are keen to support public and school libraries, and OverDrive, as one of the leading suppliers in this market, provides us with a global network that helps us achieve this, as well as encouraging the discovery of these amazing books across the world.”

OverDrive CEO and President Steve Potash said:

“J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is a once-a-lifetime phenomenon and has been an extremely significant catalyst for reading and literacy for current and future generations. We are honoured to bring this beloved storytelling experience digitally to public and school libraries worldwide.”

In keeping with Harry Potter’s international appeal, OverDrive will provide schools and libraries the ability to offer the official eBooks and digital audiobooks in many different languages – initially English, French, Italian, German and Spanish – with more languages to follow.

Readers will have immediate access to eBooks and digital audiobooks on a wide range of popular computers and reading devices including PC, Mac®, eReaders, tablets and smartphones. Supported devices include Sony® Reader, Kindle® (US only), NOOK™, iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets, BlackBerry®, and Windows® Phone. In addition to the eBook collection, the complete digital audiobooks will be made available for digital borrowing in the MP3 file format on listening devices such as computers, smartphones and iPod®.

To find a participating library or school in the OverDrive network, visit

About OverDrive
OverDrive is a leading multichannel digital distributor of eBooks, digital audiobooks, music and video. We deliver secure management, DRM protection, and download fulfillment services for hundreds of publishers and thousands of libraries, schools, and retailers, serving millions of end users. OverDrive has been named to the EContent 100 as a company that matters most in the digital content industry. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, OH.

About Pottermore
Pottermore is a unique online reading experience from J.K. Rowling, built around the Harry Potter books. Share and participate in the stories, showcase your own Potter-related creativity, and discover additional information about the world of Harry Potter from the author herself. The site allows visitors to experience and explore the first Harry Potter story, with subsequent stories unveiled over time. Pottermore is available to users in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish (Castilian).

posted by jim

This post has been updated with new information regarding Penguin e-books and e-audiobooks as of today.

This afternoon I received the following information from OverDrive regarding Penguin e-books and e-audiobooks.

Dear Library Partner,

Starting tomorrow (February 10, 2012), Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps. 

We are continuing to talk to Penguin about their future plans for eBook and digital audiobook availability for library lending.

If you have any questions, please contact Penguin (Erica Glass, OverDrive has no additional information to share at this time.


OverDrive’s Library Partner Services team

Since this notice is very short and has implications for the Library District, I’ll save the editorial comments and speculation for another time.  Reading this it would be easy to make the assumption that the big news is cessation of over the air delivery of Kindle devices or apps.  Here’s my best attempt to summarize the statement and it’s impact both short and long term.

Starting tomorrow (February 10, 2012), Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase.

Impact:  This will affect hold queues on our e-book and e-audiobook collection since we cannot purchase additional copies of this material.


Penguin has completely suspended sale of both e-books and e-audiobooks to libraries.   As of today all of the ebook and e-audiobook hold queues are well within line with our 5 to 1 holds to copy ratio, so we may not see notable delays in wait times for our customers in the short term.

Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.

Impact:  This affects Kindle devices but also Kindle apps, so if a customer uses a Kindle app on their mobile device (iPhone, iPad) they will now have to connect that device to a computer and download the book. 

This announcement is effective  tomorrow, so in the interest of communicating this as widely as possible, I’ve sent this same information via email

posted by jim.


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