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DenisePW
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E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

I have commented about this before, & it seems that things are not any better.  Many of the newest titles are not being made available to Overdrive for sale to libraries by the Agency 5.  Seems that those price fixing publishers are insistent about ramming their higher prices down our throats, and are now cutting off libraries from the latest ebook offerings. Interestingly, most of these are still being made available in audiobook format.  I have spoken with librarians at three different libraries, and they prefer the ebook format, as it is returnable, & therefore circulates more often. But they can't purchase what's not offered, & the publishers are just not making the ebooks available.  My conspiracy theory is that the publishers are aware that the ebook format is now widely available, on a multiplicity of readers, and there are users sticking to their pledge not to succumb to the price fixing by the publishers.  So they are now cutting off the libraries as a source of books.  Wonder if this can be used against them in any way?

Has any anti trust investigation been commenced yet?

 

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bklvr896
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

 

 


DenisePW wrote:

I have commented about this before, & it seems that things are not any better.  Many of the newest titles are not being made available to Overdrive for sale to libraries by the Agency 5.  Seems that those price fixing publishers are insistent about ramming their higher prices down our throats, and are now cutting off libraries from the latest ebook offerings. Interestingly, most of these are still being made available in audiobook format.  I have spoken with librarians at three different libraries, and they prefer the ebook format, as it is returnable, & therefore circulates more often. But they can't purchase what's not offered, & the publishers are just not making the ebooks available.  My conspiracy theory is that the publishers are aware that the ebook format is now widely available, on a multiplicity of readers, and there are users sticking to their pledge not to succumb to the price fixing by the publishers.  So they are now cutting off the libraries as a source of books.  Wonder if this can be used against them in any way?

Has any anti trust investigation been commenced yet?

 


 

I believe only two of the agency 5 don't provide books to Overdrive, the other 3 are.  Doug posted this information a while back, which ones haven't entered into any agreement with Overdrive.  I won't hazard a guess here as to which ones since I don't want to give out erroneous information.  

 

I don't believe that not providing the books to Overdrive, who in turn, provides them to participating libraries violates any laws, they are under no obligation to sell their books to the libraries (or anyone else) if they don't want.

 

Some AG's are looking into the Agency Model and only time will tell if it comes to anything.

Doug_Pardee
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

I haven't checked in a few weeks, but the last time I looked, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster were not available for library checkout from OverDrive. Macmillan titles aren't available through OverDrive at all; Simon & Schuster titles are available for sales through e-book stores like Books-a-Million, but not for library checkout.

 

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DenisePW
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries


Doug_Pardee wrote:

................. Macmillan and Simon & Schuster were not available for library checkout from OverDrive. .................. 


I just checked more carefully based upon your post, & you're right, MacMillan not available at all, & Simon & Schuster only for purchase. Interesting.  Do we know which Attorney Generals are investigating the price fixing angle.  Although there may not be an obligation to make books available to libraries, certainly would be bad publicity for them, I would think.

 

 

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BrookieNookie
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

I asked my library if they were going to get into ebook lending, and the head librarian said it has been thrown around, but can be cost prohibitive for smaller libraries.  Apparently (according to her) when they buy the ebooks, they are only good for a certain number of lends before they have to rebuy them.  She said it was something like 5 lends per purchase, whereas they usually figure they get 100-150 lends per paper copy. Does anyone know any more about this? Luckily, I was able to get a card from a partner library system that has tons of ebooks, but I would love to get them through my local as well.

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EffieTX
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

I heard that the Texas AG was investigating the agency model pricing.

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aditya
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

Interesting. I believe this may be the first instance where I'm forced to eat my own words about the general superiority of ebooks over DTBs :smileysad:. I could donate books and magazines to my library when they were physical. Now I can't and the libraries are forced to rely on the goodness of publishers for their ebook inventories. This means that if DTBs start going obsolete (not right away, but I can see it happening gradually over the next century), libraries will be at the complete mercy of publishers for all their new material. Let's face it, publishers hate libraries for what they represent and there's no way public libraries could ever exist today if the tradition hadn't been established a long time ago. Not good :smileysad:

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DenisePW
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

Oh, I absolutely agree that publishers hate libraries, and indeed this does put the libraries at the mercy of publishers.  In fact, the 3 librarians I spoke with all bemoaned the fact that they are already in that situation, in that they cannot purchase ebooks from Overdrive that they know are definitively available in ebook format, because the publishers have not made them available. I guess maybe I don't know how libraries purchase hard books from publishers:  can they purchase them wholesale from the publisher?  Is there a central middleman/purchaser for libraries?  Do they rely on donations from publishers and users?  In the case of the latter, certainly we, as users, have been hamstrung in being able to donate to a library, as our books are limited in lending ability. 

 

I sincerely believe that publishers are not making the books available to libraries with the absolute intent to cut off that source to readers, to force readers to purchase the ebook from a retailer at a price set by the publisher.  I have to say, the more I look at this, the more I see the price fixing and the refusal to permit libraries to purchase as an antitrust violation.

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aditya
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

@DenisePW

 

I think you're absolutely correct. By the way, the thing you said about not being able to donate or sell ebooks only reinforces the fact that even the publishers don't believe their own claims about the effectiveness of DRM-based licensing. If they did, they would actually put their money where their mouths are and treat an ebook as a physical commodity all the time, not just when it reinforces their cliched rants about piracy and why their paying customers can't be trusted.

 

This may be a concrete example of something that cannot be solved by the free market (enter regulation and anti-trust lawsuits). Meh :smileysad:. I hate it when businesses go the penny-wise, pound-foolish route - no one wins.

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Coanda-1910
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

I wonder if it would count as "a format not otherwise available" for a library to create a lendable copy of a book by breaking the DRM on a standard ebook...

 

(I doubt it would in practice. But it's an entertaining thought nonetheless)

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DenisePW
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

Hmm. Interesting idea.

 

Wish there was some way to generate the negative publicity these bad faith acts by MacMillan & Simon & Schuster deserve.  To refuse to make books available to libraries....that's really a low move.  How can you be anti-library? And yet, by this refusal, these publishers are in fact anti library. I would imagine that even if it had only a minimal impact on sales (how many people will say, "I won't buy books from a publisher who won't allow public libraries access to their books"), it's still something that would result in bad press if it were known, kind of like kicking the cat or stealing money from the church collection plate.  Unfortunately libraries don't have a strong public voice. 

 

 

Doug_Pardee
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Circumvention legalities (USA)


Coanda-1910 wrote:

 

I wonder if it would count as "a format not otherwise available" for a library to create a lendable copy of a book by breaking the DRM on a standard ebook...


No. Even if a library had the right to break the DRM, they wouldn't have the right to lend the resulting DRM-free e-book.

 

In the US, library lending of physical books is founded on the concept of "right of first sale" (17 USC 109). Right of first sale means that you own the physical embodiment of the copyrighted material that you bought. A library owns their physical books. They are restricting in making copies of the copyrighted material contained in the books, but they own the physical books and can lend them, sell them, give them away, or whatever.

 

There is no right of first sale currently recognized in the US for digital content, including e-books. In order to lend out an e-book using current technologies, a copy must be made onto the borrower's equipment. Therefore, appropriate copying authority must be conveyed by the copyright holder.

 

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aditya
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Re: Circumvention legalities (USA)

@Doug

 

True. I do wish that legislators were mandated by law to take refresher courses on post-horseless carriage technology annually. Most of these problems would be solved within a year of two (except for the ones resulting from blatant corruption - otherwise called campaign finance). As it is, we're expecting people with the average tech knowledge of a 6th grade class to legislate on matters far beyond their comprehension. Bah :smileymad:

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lkmiller
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

Wow, I imagine that's a lot of lost sales to the libraries out of fear of losing sales to library users.  Do these publishers not realize that they are refusing to sell to what would be some of their best customers?  Also, library patrons can be book buyers too.  Libraries are a great way to "try before you buy."

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Coanda-1910
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

Bah. Another unrealistic daydream crushed by the facts of the matter.

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bklvr896
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

The publishers aren't refusing to make books available to libraries, they're refusing to make eBooks available to libraries.   Not that I agree with their decision, I don't, but it is a distinction and the public at large will probably shrug and say so what, you can still get it from the library, you just have to get "real" book.

 

I wrote S&S to complain about the pre-order price of Vince Flynn's newest book, American Assassin.  They want $14.99 for it, the HC is discounted to $15.11.  S&S doesn't supply libraries. $14.99 is above what I'm willing to pay for this book.  I can't get it as an eBook from the library. Severely limits my options for reading the book, so maybe I just won't.  That's what I told S&S, but so far, no response.

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aditya
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

 


bklvr896 wrote:

The publishers aren't refusing to make books available to libraries, they're refusing to make eBooks available to libraries.   Not that I agree with their decision, I don't, but it is a distinction and the public at large will probably shrug and say so what, you can still get it from the library, you just have to get "real" book.

 


It doesn't look like anyone missed that distinction. The entire discussion so far has been about ebooks. But you're right in that I wouldn't expect the general public to get too steamed up over the matter (for the reason you mentioned).

 

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ellsbells930
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

I really don't understand this mentality of publishers that if they don't make an ebook available at the library that they will get more sales.  The way I look at it, they not only lose the library sale, they still don't gain other sales.  If I want to borrow a book from the library instead of paying for it, I just won't read the book if it isn't at the library.  I don't remember the last time I paid full price for a DTB.  I usually go to our local libraries' book sales & stock up on 50 cent paperbacks & $1 HC books.

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Taxandria
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

I find it frustrating to have pretty much only audiobooks available through my library system. Ebooks being borrowed through the library system is an excellent idea because we are saving trees and all the labor and materials used in printing and we will only get to have the book for a short period of time just like a DTB. What's the problem? Why do they illogically believe they will lose sales?

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bklvr896
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Re: E-Books Not Being Made Available to Libraries

 


Taxandria wrote:

I find it frustrating to have pretty much only audiobooks available through my library system. Ebooks being borrowed through the library system is an excellent idea because we are saving trees and all the labor and materials used in printing and we will only get to have the book for a short period of time just like a DTB. What's the problem? Why do they illogically believe they will lose sales?


 

I don't know if it's completely illogical, I've used the library more since I got my Nook that I ever did before, and those are basically lost sales, as I would have most likely bought those books.  But that's neither here nor there.

 

John Sargent, CEO of MacMillan was quoted in March as saying this about libraries:

 

"That is a very thorny problem", said Sargent. In the past, getting a book from libraries has had a tremendous amount of friction. You have to go to the library, maybe the book has been checked out and you have to come back another time. If it's a popular book, maybe it gets lent ten times, there's a lot of wear and tear, and the library will then put in a reorder. With ebooks, you sit on your couch in your living room and go to the library website, see if the library has it, maybe you check libraries in three other states. You get the book, read it, return it and get another, all without paying a thing. "It's like Netflix, but you don't pay for it. How is that a good model for us?"

"If there's a model where the publisher gets a piece of the action every time the book is borrowed, that's an interesting model."

 

You can read the whole article here:http://go-to-hellman.blogspot.com/2010/03/ebooks-in-libraries-thorny-problem-says.html

 

Oh, and I met a used book store owner once who felt that libraries should be prohibited from having anything but research books.  So it's apparently not only a publisher thought.