The Big Six – where we stand at the moment

I’m headed to BEA next week (I’m on the conference advisory board for the BEA Bloggers part of the conference), and will have a good three days of listening to publishers talk about ebooks (and hopefully libraries).

So I thought it would be a good idea to see where we stand right now with ebooks, the Big Six, and some of our current ebook vendors.

Here’s a list of the major ebook vendors, and what they offer in relation to the Big Six publishers:

3M, Baker & Taylor Axis 360:

  • Hachette
  • Simon & Schuster (but only if you’re a large NYC-area library – they’re still in pilot project mode)
  • Macmillan
  • Penguin
  • HarperCollins
  • Random House
  • … and No Kindle formats.

OverDrive:

  • Hachette
  • Macmillan
  • HarperCollins
  • Random House
  • doesn’t have Penguin or Simon & Schuster
  • … OverDrive has Kindle versions of some titles (and that’s probably why they don’t have Penguin).

What does each publisher offer?

  • Hachette: Full catalog, released simultaneously with print, ebooks will cost 300% more than the print book. Unlimited number of checkouts, one copy per user model.
  • Simon & Schuster: started a 1-year pilot project on April 30 with New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Library. Full catalog, a one year purchase/lease, unlimited checkouts, one copy per user model.
  • Macmillan: 1,200 backlist ebooks from its Minotaur Books imprint. Two year, 52-lends lease model. Ebooks cost $25. I’d say they’re still in pilot project mode too.
  • Random House: Our ebook friends, for a price – entire catalogue available for “perpetual access” at a higher price to libraries (upwards of 300% over the print book cost).
  • Penguin: all titles available, one-year licenses. Except if you’re OverDrive.
  • HarperCollins: 26 checkouts per title lease model.

So – at this point, we have all Big Six publishers willing and able to sell [at least some] ebooks to [at least some] libraries. With wildly varying models and price points:

  • Checkout models include: unlimited use, 26 checkouts per book, or 52 checkouts per book.
  • Time limits include: No year limits, one year limits, and two year limits per book
  • Title availability includes: All titles available, some titles available, hardly any title available.
  • Pricing: an even $25, a variety of more normal pricing. And two publishers who markup ebooks by 300%. If this was gasoline, we’d call it price gouging.

Pic by pazca

Ebooks for Libraries Update – mailing the petitions to publishers!

Remember the Ebooks for Libraries campaign that my library and Library Renewal are running? Here’s our final video installment (for now). On Wednesday, we mailed the names of all our petition signers – on HUGE rolls of paper – to the big six publishers. Library Journal even mentioned it!

Next goal (already started via Gina Millsap and the wonders of email) – make initial contact with each publisher and hopefully start some conversations about ebooks, readers, and libraries.

Missed our first two videos? Here are some links to them (and a little more info, too):

Stay tuned for more info as I have it!