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Old 02-26-2011, 01:39 PM   #1
randyflycaster
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Publishers Restricting Libraries: RIP Sony Readers?

I bought a Sony Reader instead of a Kindle because I wanted to take ebooks out of public libraries.

Now publishers are, in effect, limiting the ebooks public libraries will buy and offer.

http://librarianbyday.net/2011/02/25...ant-step-back/

Will this be the end of the Sony Reader?

What I don't understand is why publishers don't sell ebooks directly from their websites. Will they soon?

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Old 02-26-2011, 02:54 PM   #2
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A: This is an important development that ALL users of non-Kindle e-readers should be aware of. Follow the link!

B: I see no reason why this development, even if it becomes standard publishing industry practice, should be the end of the Sony reader. You still have access to virtually every e-book offered. And, much as I hate Apple and their policies, the fact that the I-pad and competing tablets all read .epub formats leaves no doubt that .epub and possible successor formats will continue to be widely supported for e-book releases.

Also, libraries have strong support in the USA and doubtless in many other countries, and I would amazed if laws are not passed forcing publishers to accommodate libraries in the e-book age.

And indeed, from the publisher's perspective, such a move might open Pandora's Box, for example additional laws forcing publishers to allow e-books to be lent to friends, and to be resold as used. Publishers are building up a huge reservoir of ill will among e-book readers, and sooner or later such policies are going to blow up in their faces. And they will richly deserve it.

Cheers

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Old 02-26-2011, 03:30 PM   #3
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I wonder just how many library books are read on eBook readers? I suspect it is a VERY small percentage compared to paid and free eBooks. Most libraries don't have much of an eBook selection and many have none. I checked into the selection several months ago and found nothing I cared to read. Polls that have been conducted in these forums tend to show a huge disappointment in the availability (or unavailability) of library eBooks.

My guess is that library eBooks will have little impact on the sales of readers capable of reading them.
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Old 02-26-2011, 03:46 PM   #4
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[rant]

Quote:
Originally Posted by KNI
Publishers are building up a huge reservoir of ill will among e-book readers, and sooner or later such policies are going to blow up in their faces.
Have you seen this happen? I don't. Actually I see the opposite:

Apple: you can't read stuff from your own device, can't add files to it from more than one PC. => Never mentioned in reviews, nobody complaining.
Gaming: Most popular titles switched to the model effectively destroying after-market. (account bound activations). => No consequences.
TV/Sat receivers encrypting recorded media so that it cannot be played on any other device. => No consequences.
HD+ (German invention): yet another round of "you can't do that", allowing TV Broadcasters to disable ANY recording functionality => Uhm, consequences?

EUCD (European version of US DMCA) "circumvention of copy protection is illegal" whether that falls under "fair use" or not. In other words, if in US you still can legally backup your stuff, in EU you would be breaking the law! It's 10 year old, consequences? There actually are consequences: look whom (and for what) Sony is suing in PS3 world.

When Blizzard dropped LAN support in Starcraft II, most users cried about evil pirates who would illegally play with pirated copies, forgetting that in Starcraft I you could _officially_ play LAN with up to three of your friends, having bought only one copy of the game.

People start to believe, that it's the way it should be. Copyright rights lasting 100 instead of 50? Well, that's fine, isn't it? Nokia, IBM and other companies, with multi-billion R&D budget get "copyright" on their findings for only 10-15 years, when singers/artists absolutely need to have it for 100 years, 50 wasn't motivating enough. It will be the same with libraries.

[/rant]
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Old 02-26-2011, 03:47 PM   #5
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I have access to 3 public libraries because of where I live, work and where my hubby works. Mississauga, Burlington & Toronto. I'm not going to pretend to be knowledgable about ebook library usage over dead tree library usage but I can say that there are a lot of books I've been reading from the library and when you consider that some books have 40 patrons on a waiting list, I'd say that's a lot.

The last bunch of books I've read were library books. They're not books I want to own but am interested in reading so the library is perfect! Eat, Pray, Love had a very big waiting list. The same for the Nicholas Flamel series from Michael Scott for instance. The first book has a list of over 40 people waiting for it in Toronto.

Toronto is clearly a bigger city than the other two I belong to but I find it interesting that Burlington, a smaller city than Mississauga, has a better selection of books and a longer lending period than Mississauga. Mississauga's max period is two weeks whereas the other two are three weeks. Burlington often has books that have huge waiting lists in Toronto who has more copies and sometimes has a book that the Toronto library doesn't. Mississauga's ebook library is apparently fairly new so it's much smaller than the other two but I borrow from there to let them know that there are people out there who use it.

I don't know how much it will impact which ereader someone will buy but I can say that it did for me. I was never sure I'd use the library feature or not but I'd rather have bought a reader that could do it if I decided to use the library than to not have it if I decided to. And it is something that I'm happily using and will continue to use as long as it's available.
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Old 02-26-2011, 04:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jswinden View Post
I wonder just how many library books are read on eBook readers? I suspect it is a VERY small percentage compared to paid and free eBooks. Most libraries don't have much of an eBook selection and many have none. I checked into the selection several months ago and found nothing I cared to read. Polls that have been conducted in these forums tend to show a huge disappointment in the availability (or unavailability) of library eBooks.

My guess is that library eBooks will have little impact on the sales of readers capable of reading them.
While it might be a small percentage (or might not), the ability to easily borrow ebooks from the library is a very important factor for many people when choosing an ereader. You can see that just by the number of people making that point in the "Which one should I buy?" topics.

I wouldn't say that library ebooks aren't popular either. Clevnet has more ebooks than anyone else at the moment, 21,000 or so. From my own experience, I can tell you there are often long waiting lists for books, even for obscure and not very popular titles. If a book is hot you could be waiting months for it to become available. I can see a really popular title expiring before I even get a chance to borrow it.

Even though I own a Kindle, I'm not anti-Sony or any other reader (except the iPad). So, I'm hoping this won't have a lot of impact, but I think it might. We'll have to see if the practice spreads and how libraries and Overdrive respond.
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:59 PM   #7
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Libraries have small ebook collections now, but I was hoping that they would soon get a lot bigger.

Besides, I saw a lot of books that interested me that were available for immediate download, and I'm certainly willing to wait a few weeks for a particular book. (I've often done that when reserving print books.)

I can, however, see why publishers are concerned. It's not like they have big profit margins to begin with, and I'm sure ebooks are scaring the heck out of them.

I just hope something can be worked out. I wouldn't mind paying a small fee to take out an ebook from a library.

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Old 02-26-2011, 06:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I can, however, see why publishers are concerned. It's not like they have big profit margins to begin with, and I'm sure ebooks are scaring the heck out of them.
What are those profit margins like, do you know?
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Old 02-26-2011, 07:01 PM   #9
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I'm not sure exactly what the margins are. If they were higher they certainly wouldn't pay such low salaries compared to other industries.

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Old 02-26-2011, 07:15 PM   #10
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Google is my friend.
Publishers typically earn about $2.15 per digital book versus 26 cents for a print copy, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. (The article is about $9.99 Kindle books and was published in 2009.)

I didn't realize it was so low, especially for print books! Puts some things in perspective. Thanks for bringing it up.
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Old 02-26-2011, 08:16 PM   #11
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Um, most of the books I read are library books. This was very important for me in my decision to purchase a Sony and I just upgraded to the 650, so, Yeah, very important to me.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jswinden View Post
I wonder just how many library books are read on eBook readers? I suspect it is a VERY small percentage compared to paid and free eBooks. Most libraries don't have much of an eBook selection and many have none. I checked into the selection several months ago and found nothing I cared to read. Polls that have been conducted in these forums tend to show a huge disappointment in the availability (or unavailability) of library eBooks.

My guess is that library eBooks will have little impact on the sales of readers capable of reading them.
I may not be typical, but out of the 40 e-books I've read so far this year, 28 were borrowed from the library. Making use of library loans was my primary reason for switching from Kindle to Sony. My home county has a tiny selection of interesting e-books, but two neighboring counties (one in KY and one in OH) offer reciprocity and their Overdrive catalogs have more selections. I also pay for an out of state membership to the Free Library of Philadelphia. These changes are seriously worrisome for me. First off, geographical constraints will limit me to my home county library, which runs heavily toward juvenile fiction and historical romance, neither of which are of interest to me. Secondly, if the library can only lend an e-book 26 times, then I might not be able to get a book off of hold before it's used up. I've some titles on hold for up to three months before a copy was available to download, so it's a real concern.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:54 AM   #13
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I love the idea of reading library books on my Sony, but my library doesn't have the service.

The main reason I picked Sony though was because it did not have wifi or 3g and had the touch screen. So I don't think this will be the end of the Sony Reader.

Penguin sells ebooks directly from their website, at least in the US. Harper Collins used to, but stopped.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:57 AM   #14
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I selected the Sony PRS-350 because I wanted to borrow books from the digital library in this area. Can't say I'm crazy about the selection overall but I have found some things I like. Have checked out a couple of free sites but nothing as yet appealed to me, though will check back.

Don't want to have to buy every book I read; wanted a device that was just a reader [also like my cell phone to just be a cell phone] and so far am very happy with the PRS-350. Didn't think of it when I bought it, but it is such a nice compact size that I plan on taking it with me on vacation next week; may help kill some time at the airport
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:45 AM   #15
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...I can, however, see why publishers are concerned. It's not like they have big profit margins to begin with, and I'm sure ebooks are scaring the heck out of them...
Publishers are scared because, although e-book sales are individually more profitable than traditional books, they are collectively dangerous to the affordability of producing print books. As more people choose e-books instead of print books, print books become increasingly more expensive per unit. There are two obvious solutions: either switch to a primarily digital distribution model, only producing print books for the most popular titles _or_ treat printed editions as luxury items, dramatically increasing the sales price. Instead of going for the obvious choices, publishers try to reduce e-book sales by artificially inflating prices and imposing restrictions on how digital editions may be used (e.g. no resale, little or no device portability, little or no lending).

In my opinion, going after digital library loans is just another way for publishers to try to keep e-books from becoming too mainstream.
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