E-books. We sell them. Some of my family reads them. Some, like myself, have not particularly taken to the new format. But, what does all of this digital publishing mean for libraries and small bookstores?
An article in the Christian Science Monitor caught my attention recently. (“Battle Over e-books in the Library” June 18, 2012 p. 43). It outlines the brewing battle over price and usage between publishers and libraries. In some cases, prices have jumped 700% due to the possibility of multiple readers reading the same copy and thereby making the publishers believe the books to be more valuable. Last year, Random House announced that e-books sold to libraries would expire after being checked out 26 times.
I have watched e-book prices yoyo as publishers try to gain and understand the e-book market—the underlying reason for the current tug of war between publishers and libraries. Will the price be what sways the reader? It did initially with $0.99 books, but publishers can’t keep up with this loss forever as evidenced by price increases. Some say the e-book will spell the end to small bookstores, but right now, I still believe it will be the below or at cost sales of Amazon and other corporate stores that affect the independent bookstores the most. But like the e-book publishers, these corporations must recover those lost profits somewhere…
Here is the link to the CSM article: