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