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Old 03-04-2012, 06:21 AM   #46
Sil_liS
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Originally Posted by jmaejr View Post
Why can't the market decide prices and they will adjust accordingly based on demand. No one is forcing anyone at gun point to buy anything...including 120 dollar e-books. Why are people so afraid to voice their opinions with their wallets, would they rather have the Brown Shirts telling them what to do and how to do it?
Supply and demand doesn't work with monopolies, and copyright gives monopoly over books. With pbooks the libraries at least have another source for books: donations. With ebooks there is no such luck.

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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
FRAND isn't a law, it is something imposed by standards organisations.
Considering the last Apple vs. Motorola case I would say that it's imposed by courts.

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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Indie, small publishers, new authors who want exposure, public domain, etc.

Buying at inflated prices is worse than not buying at all.

All I can say is that if libraries won't boycott Random House over this, then they deserve to be taken to the cleaners; and I hope RH raises its prices even higher.
Libraries can't boycott publishers. Publishers don't want to sell books to libraries. They see it as a loss, not a source of revenue.

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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
I'd also say that it's not really the publisher's problem if citizens can't be bothered to adequately fund public libraries. I would agree that book purchases shouldn't take a significantly higher percentage of library funding than before, but ultimately it's up to the public to fund the libraries, not for commercial vendors to take the hit when we cut library budgets.
It's not the public that decides the budget of the libraries.

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Originally Posted by HoopyFrood View Post
I don't see the problem, if the e-books are too high the library shouldn't buy them. Buy the dead tree version. I mean this is like a no-brainer. I like e-books, but I don't want my taxes financing the greed of these e-book publishers.
This is what the publishers want the libraries to do. Giving in like this would just make publishers increase the prices of ebooks until it's impossible for the libraries to justify buying them.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:48 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
(snip....)
Providing access to current best-sellers, whether paper or eBook, is arguably the public library equivalent of football for a research university. It brings in donations, but doesn't have much to do with the core mission of creating knowledge (in the case of the research university) or literacy promotion (in the case of the library).
I would argue that providing books people want to read has a great deal to do with literacy promotion. To be any good at anything people have to practice--and books that make them want to practice reading promote literacy.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:54 AM   #48
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And also I would suggest that the market is not setting the price of library e-books until we have lots of publishers, all competing with each other to sell similar products, and libraries can pick and choose freely among them.

When a five-publisher coalition controls a lot of the market, the market isn't free. At which point taking action to offset that doesn't seems reasonable to me.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:17 PM   #49
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Random House noted that e-books can be "repeatedly circulated without limitation,"
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:02 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
If you know of a way for indie publishers TO sell to libraries, feel free to tell the rest of us. Right now there's not an infrastructure in place that I'm aware of -- and I've been trying.
I have no idea.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:33 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
I would argue that providing books people want to read has a great deal to do with literacy promotion. To be any good at anything people have to practice--and books that make them want to practice reading promote literacy.
So much THIS! I'm very happy that my local library has not limited itself to such a "core mission". When I was unemployed for several months a few of years ago, the library became extra important to me. Yes, it did provide me with entertainment during a very stressful time in my life, and for that I am grateful. I am perfectly happy to pay taxes to support such a wonderful community resource.

Any day that I have visited my library, I've found several people there who appear to be studying for school, or using the public computers to job search or update their resumes.

My library hosts weekly movie & game nights (card games, console games, etc.) for teens. Heaven forbid they use "entertainment" to give kids a safe place to go and get them in the door of the library where they might pick up a book while they are there and become interested in reading as a hobby.

To get back on topic, I keep seeing publishers say that once a library has an e-book, if they don't put a lending limit, then the library never needs to replace the book as they would a physical copy that would wear out. In this case, Random House is saying, ok, no limit, but you're going to pay a higher cost up front since you will never have to replace a physical copy that would wear out.

Two problems with this - First, I've seen ages old books at my library that are in perfectly fine shape, that have not been repurchased and replaced in a number of years. So I feel that argument is kind of out the window. Second, *format changes*. As with all types of media, there is the possibility that the format will change and digital copies will need to be repurchased at some point.

However, I suppose that we shouldn't expect a company that still calls it's audio book selection "Books on Tape" to consider a thing such as format changes.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:21 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
I would argue that providing books people want to read has a great deal to do with literacy promotion. To be any good at anything people have to practice--and books that make them want to practice reading promote literacy.
You are making a reasonable point.

Libraries, at least in the US, are in the early stages of what seems to me a major, even existential, challenge.

Whether it is seen as crucial for fulfilling their core mission, or just crucial to maintain public support, libraries need to provide access to recent best-sellers. And as the world moves to eBooks, it puts publishers in a position where they can take advantage of this by singling out libraries for high prices on the books they want the most. Print journal publishers have been doing this for a long time -- charging high prices to libraries and lower prices to individuals. Now, for the first time, the trade book industry can do the same.

At the same time publishers are starting to single out libraries for extra high prices, Amazon is directly competing with public libraries through its Amazon Lending Library. This could take away the middle and upper class constituencies for libraries, and I'm not sure they can really survive if primarily seen as poverty programs.

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Originally Posted by MrsJoseph View Post
...isn't there a law against price gouging?
Someone please correct me, but I am thinking just the opposite. Wouldn't any attempt to regulate the prices multi-national publishers charge US-based governmental libraries go against international laws enforced by the World Trade Organization? Even if I am wrong there, forcing publishers to charge every class of customer the same price is politically impossible in almost all countries, and certainly in a center-right country like the US.

Question to any librarians on the thread: To what extent do public libraries based acquisition prioritization on the price of the book?
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:45 PM   #53
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In Italy, the government regulates ebook prices.
The result is that we have virtually no ebooks.
Price controls invariably restrict supply.
You don't want to buy it? Don't. Your library doesn't want to buy it? It shouldn't.
I want to retain the freedom to decide for myself.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:46 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by HoopyFrood View Post
A valid point if true, however I believe that many of the e-book providers only allow a limited number of "checkout's" of a e-book file before it has to be re-purchased.
Wasn't it only HarperCollins who did that?

Anyway, in theory, I think publishers charging libraries a bit more for a copy does make sense. It would probably serve everyone's interests (well, everyone but the publisher anyway) better if it was some kind of fixed price increase, though (e.g. twice the full retail price or something similar).

There definitely is the argument of "an ebook file isn't going to wear out or get lost", so there is never going to be a practical reason for the library to repurchase it. On the other hand, the majority of physical books in libraries probably never get so worn out that they need replacing, either (especially as books can get repaired), so setting the ebook price equivalent to having to buy 1 original copy and 1 replacement would, to me, seem reasonably fair.

A checkout cap would be another method, but the 26 checkout limit by HarperCollins sounds far too low - I can't imagine most books wearing out so much that they need to be replaced in just one year (if it's a popular book that's lent out to a new reader every two weeks). Something like a 100 checkout cap would probably be more reasonable, but I'm not a librarian and don't really know how many loans a typical well-bound book can take before needing to be replaced (or repaired for more money than buying a new copy would cost).
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:25 AM   #55
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Anyway, in theory, I think publishers charging libraries a bit more for a copy does make sense. It would probably serve everyone's interests (well, everyone but the publisher anyway) better if it was some kind of fixed price increase, though (e.g. twice the full retail price or something similar).
I don't see any reason for charging more. The adder revenue to the publisher is a drop in the ocean, but with a 300% price increase the library can only afford a third of the books.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:44 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Sil_liS View Post
I don't see any reason for charging more. The adder revenue to the publisher is a drop in the ocean, but with a 300% price increase the library can only afford a third of the books.
Forget getting only a third and spend the money elsewhere.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:55 AM   #57
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Another reason why despite me loving my e-reader and loving the things that are available to me, I will never leave my first love of the dead-tree kind.

Real physical books last longer than greedy publishers pretend they do, and e-books are not worth more than tree books. If libraries stopped carrying e-books because publishers want a zillion dollars for a silly little file containing a couple hundred pages, then so be it. I still have other things to read and other formats to read them legally and for free. I also would rather support authors instead of greedy publishers.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:32 AM   #58
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Forget getting only a third and spend the money elsewhere.
But library patrons want those overpriced ebooks.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:50 AM   #59
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But library patrons want those overpriced ebooks.
Precisely, and it's not easy to clarify to the public why certain books aren't available.

I absolutely favor government intervention to keep prices set the same regardless of the customer. Random House can't charge me 300% of what they charge everyone else; why should libraries be any different?
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:59 PM   #60
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What is next? If they are regulating ebook prices, why not ebook readers? Where does it stop? The government should not be in the practice of regulating prices.
There is a basic line where public policy needs to fill a void left by the market. But I'm not sure if government regulation is needed, I have a feeling Random will have to change their mind when it fails miserably. People will continue to migrate toward cheaper ebooks and leave their authors in the dust.

Certainly at some point price gouging needs the attention of the government, but where that line is is debatable. It certainly seems like there's been a lot of gouging going on lately. The American consumer has really gotten the short end of the stick the last twenty five years or so. Crappier products, higher prices, less service and proprietary lock-outs. You get less for more now and that needs to change somehow.

Certainly government needs to return to enforcing anti-collusion laws. There appears (though I haven't looked in to it know for sure) that there is a lot of collusion going on with price fixing in various industries.

This situation is a case in point. Who wants to bet other publishers will follow Random House's move despite the fact that offering cheaper prices gives them a decided advantage over their rival?

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