Friday, February 10, 2012

Publishers Curtail Sales of EBooks to Libraries

One of the last "Big Six" publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster) to offer unrestricted purchase of eBooks to libraries announced today that they will no longer sell eBooks to OverDrive, the primary supplier of eBooks to public libraries: Penguin Severs Ties with OverDrive
This leaves only one, Random House, allowing unrestricted loans for eBooks purchased by libraries. HarperCollins restricts eBooks to 26 loans for libraries.

This is a huge blow to public libraries like ours, where eBooks are one of our fastest-growing and highest circulating collections. While the publishing industry struggles with their issues of selling eBooks to libraries through for-profit third party entities like OverDrive, it is the public libraries and their patrons that suffer. Your library is unable to buy the titles your want in eBook and downloadable audiobook formats. It is maddening for our staff to be unable to purchase a bestseller in eBook format because the publisher does not allow public libraries to do so, when customer service and responsiveness to our users needs are the heart of our service philosophy.

In the meantime, your Library staff will be investigating alternatives, such as purchasing eBooks from independent publishers and how to cost-effectively loan eBooks without third party services like OverDrive (if there are any).

Please bear with us, eBook aficionados, while we wait for these publishers to find their new paradigm for selling eBooks to libraries. We'd love to get James Patterson's latest novel as an eBook for you. But at the moment, that is not possible.