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?