After their merger a couple of years ago, Random House, owned by a private German media firm called Bertelsmann, and the Penguin Group maintained separate and very different eBook licensing models for the library market.  It seems that has changed.  Starting in the new year both companies will offer eBooks with permanent licenses (Random’s practice) with prices somewhat reduced from what Random House had been charging (generally $65 per title vs. the standard maximum today of $85).  Read the PW article here.

The response by ALA President Sari Feldman has been as follows:

“Libraries will be pleased that the combined Penguin Random House license will ensure perpetual access to e-titles, and all will be glad the previous ceiling of $85 per title has been reduced,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “But I also know many of my colleagues will miss the flexibility of paying near-consumer prices for e-copies they may not wish to maintain indefinitely, and some will be unable to afford to provide access to the ebooks their communities seek.”

We have on order Belle Gibson’s The whole pantry : 100 recipes for wellness lifestyle and nutrition to nourish your whole life.  This title was to be published by Atria Books in April.  In Australia where the book was first published, it came to light that the author may not have even had cancer.  There were also question about charitable donations.  The book was first pulled in Australia, and now will not be published here.

Publisher’s Weekly has more information.

We have 14 holds on this title.  They will be cancelled and requesters will be notified when we pull the record from Polaris.


Posted by Becky

Burying the Hachette At Last

November 13, 2014

Amazon and Hachette (in this country of Little, Brown and Grand Central fame), have finally reached an agreement after many months of dispute over ebook pricing and sales terms.  There are no details, but the report sounds like this is a compromise  – keeping higher payments to authors while allowing something more like agency pricing again.  This is all about the direct consumer market, but stability in the ebook world is probably a good thing for everyone that needs to monitor demand.



Ignore the silly title (references to Breaking Bad are about its success on Netflix and the applicability of Netflix’s access model to books).  This is an excellent presentation of key points by knowledgeable players in the book market and library world today.   A lot of the same issues are starting to confront us with regard to streaming media. Key points seem to be that patron driven access (for books that’s something like FReading) is great if its success is paradoxically kept modest, and that publishers are realizing library users are book buyers, not market cannibals (but they never seemed to doubt this in the print world, right?)  As usual, the future’s both disturbing and comforting depending on whose point you want to latch onto.



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


PW’s newsletter published an article Friday whose title “Is Amazon Really the Devil,” sounds like something from the Onion but actually makes solid points in the discussion about Amazon’s pricing dispute with Hachette.  One notable point is about royalties and Amazon’s ability to open the market to self-published works of true interest to the public:

While showing no support for Amazon position, [Author’s Guild President Roxanna] Robinson acknowledged that authors don’t completely support the Big Five publishers, which have refused to raise the e-book royalty rate of 25%, which is generally considered too low for a format that has low production costs. “The [author-publisher] partnership based on mutual cooperation and shared success that was traditionally part of the publishing world is being lost,” she said. “Publishers used to split their profits with authors, after accounting for the costs of production, 50/50. Now [publishers] are treating authors as hostile opponents. It’s not a good economic model, and it’s not a way in which anyone prospers or makes money. It doesn’t bode well for the future of publishing either.

Considering these numbers it is no wonder that some writing talent will be attracted to self-publication, especially in the eBook arena.  The problem is that the universe of self-published titles is so large and until now has had fewer traditional quality filters (professional reviewing, publisher endorsement) that would help us identify easily which self-published titles are really going to appeal to our public.

Jim McCluskey just pointed out to me that this year OverDrive and Smashwords agreed to release bestselling self-published lists to libraries in OverDrive’s Global Network. Deals like that may help us get a sense of what’s viable and valuable in this new reading market.



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


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