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Old 09-03-2013, 11:48 PM   #16
Barcey
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That's because the licensing terms are different. When you buy an ebook licence, you're buying a licence for your personal use only. When a library buys an ebook licence, they're buying an licence to lend it to multiple people.



It's not "crazy" at all. The library is simply purchasing a licence for 26 loans.
Why can they only buy a bundle of 26 loans? Why not pay the publishers $0 for the ebooks and then 1/26th the price for each loan or 1/50th for each loan? That way the libraries don't have to pay anything for the duds that sit on the shelf.

The problem is that the current copyright laws have broken the free market system, it doesn't work when one side can make all the rules. The publishers have demonstrated that they won't negotiate a fair deal with the libraries. The governments need to step in and mandate what the publishers will be paid via the library system.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:06 AM   #17
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I was pretty sure that paper books were indeed more expensive when bought by a library. Maybe as a way to compensate for the lesser sells.
Why would the library go along with such a deal? It's none of a seller's business what the buyer is going to do with a book. If public libraries are actually paying more for their paper books than we individuals do, they're wasting public funds.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:25 AM   #18
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You do make some wonderful points, but here is a question: why should publishers be reaping the benefits of the digital revolution, while reducing a library's ability to do the same?
I think that's a kind of weird question. It's not like e-books are just floating out in the world for free for everyone, like some sort of digital oxygen. The publishers are reaping the benefits of the digital revolution - to the extent that they are - because they own something that people are willing to pay for. But the libraries are also reaping the benefit of the digital revolution because they have a new product to offer users which does not take up any physical space.

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Why would the library go along with such a deal? It's none of a seller's business what the buyer is going to do with a book. If public libraries are actually paying more for their paper books than we individuals do, they're wasting public funds.
Well, as Steve pointed out, it's not as simple as that: the e-books that the library buys are more useful than a regular library book because they are a regular-print and large-print book at the same time; many books also have TTS.

More importantly, these books are different from pbooks because the library gets to basically outsource the whole storage/delivery/retrieval part of the lending transaction. The books aren't stored at the library and the library doesn't transmit them to the users and check to make sure that they're checked in - Overdrive (or whoever) takes care of all of that.

On the other hand, the libraries do lose out on additional revenue from late fees.

But, really, it's a business decision. If the library decides it's not worthwhile to buy e-books, they are free to do that. And if they decide that e-books are worthwhile even though more expensive, they are free to buy them. It's wrong to cast this in moral terms; it's just business.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:37 AM   #19
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More importantly, these books are different from pbooks because the library gets to basically outsource the whole storage/delivery/retrieval part of the lending transaction. The books aren't stored at the library and the library doesn't transmit them to the users and check to make sure that they're checked in - Overdrive (or whoever) takes care of all of that.
It's true that this is outsourced at most libraries, but they pay quite a bit for the service (plus Adobe gets their $0.08 per checkout on books using their DRM), beyond the cost of the ebooks themselves. A few libraries are now running their own Adobe Content Server's in lieu of a service like OverDrive or 3M due to what these services cost some of them.


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But, really, it's a business decision. If the library decides it's not worthwhile to buy e-books, they are free to do that. And if they decide that e-books are worthwhile even though more expensive, they are free to buy them.
Yes, it's up to libraries to take or leave ebooks and their costs. There is no harm however in ongoing discussion, especially on a relatively new business model that will evolve further.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:13 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ntsimp View Post
Why would the library go along with such a deal? It's none of a seller's business what the buyer is going to do with a book. If public libraries are actually paying more for their paper books than we individuals do, they're wasting public funds.
Not that agree with higher prices for libraries, mind you
I just think I've read somewhere that books were more expensive for libraries and I assumed (without any hint whatsoever) that might be a way to compensate the author and the publisher.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:53 AM   #21
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How is a library any different from, let's say, a car rental company? Why should libraries pay a multiple for the same e-book compared to what normal people pay, while car rentals get premium discounts when purchasing cars for their fleet? How are the two any different from each other? Why should e-books with little resale value have an artificial expiration date attached to them? Should rental cars automatically expire once they reach 10,000 miles?

(Before anyone asks, I am not not related to Cory Doctorow.)
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:06 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by doctorow View Post
How is a library any different from, let's say, a car rental company? Why should libraries pay a multiple for the same e-book compared to what normal people pay, while car rentals get premium discounts when purchasing cars for their fleet? How are the two any different from each other? Why should e-books with little resale value have an artificial expiration date attached to them? Should rental cars automatically expire once they reach 10,000 miles?

(Before anyone asks, I am not not related to Cory Doctorow.)
Precisely because digital media don't degrade. The publisher has decided that because an ebook is "eternal", and hence a library would otherwise only ever buy one copy of the book, compared to a paper book, which degrades with each loan, that they will either charge a premium price, or else limit the number of loans. I'm not saying that I think this is right, but from a commercial viewpoint it is entirely understandable.

To use your analogy, the car rental company is paying a premium for cars which are eternally brand new.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:29 AM   #23
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Precisely because digital media don't degrade.
On the other hand, although cars may eventually stop running, by then they've been resold long ago. Major rentals, like Sixt for example, keep their fleet young, since they know that the resale value of cars decreases exponentially after reaching a certain age. Do libraries have that liberty of refinancing new eBooks?

People in favor of overcharging libraries love to compare eBooks to paper books rather than looking at eBooks for what they are: a new technology. They try to preserve an old business model by introducing artificial limits. Their business model mind you. Who cares if libraries, the gateway to knowledge, draw the short straw.

I repeat: Why should libraries pay a multiple for the same eBook compared to what normal people pay, while car rentals get premium discounts when purchasing cars for their fleet?
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:36 AM   #24
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People in favor of overcharging libraries love to compare eBooks to paper books rather than looking at eBooks for what they are: a new technology. They try to preserve an old business model by introducing artificial limits. Their business model mind you. Who cares if libraries, the gateway to knowledge, draw the short straw.

I repeat: Why should libraries pay a multiple for the same eBook compared to what normal people pay, while car rentals get premium discounts when purchasing cars for their fleet?
The answer is self-evident. The library is paying more because they are buying more rights. When you buy an ebook, you are buying it for personal use only; the library is buying a multi-user licence.

It's no different to buying a single-user licence or a multi-user licence for a piece of software. Do you think that that's wrong, too?
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:40 AM   #25
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26 loans is a ridiculously low shelf life.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:43 AM   #26
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The answer is self-evident. The library is paying more because they are buying more rights. When you buy an ebook, you are buying it for personal use only; the library is buying a multi-user licence.

It's no different to buying a single-user licence or a multi-user licence for a piece of software. Do you think that that's wrong, too?
You love licenses, don't you? Because it's that technicality that keeps reappearing when people are devoid of practical arguement. Who introduced the whole concept of eBooks being licenses? The user? The librarian? Or, perhaps... the publisher?

Why do car rentals not have to pay that multiple? By your line of reasoning, they are not buying a car for their personal use only, but to give it out to multiple users. How is that any different? Oh yes, I forgot. eBooks are merely licenses. How convenient.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:46 AM   #27
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I wonder what publishers will do when ereaders drop below $50? Imagine buying a few spares for group use and loaning them out to get around the current personal ebook lending limits.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:51 AM   #28
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You love licenses, don't you? Because it's that technicality that keeps reappearing when people are devoid of practical arguement.
It's completely irrelevant what you and I might think of licences. It is a FACT that digital goods are licensed. Software, music downloads, ebooks - it's all licences, whether you like it or not.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:01 AM   #29
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It's completely irrelevant what you and I might think of licences.
Thank you very much, but I consider my opinion and the opinion of others highly relevant in this discussion.

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It is a FACT that digital goods are licensed. Software, music downloads, ebooks - it's all licences, whether you like it or not.
No, it's not a fact. That I die one day is a fact. That digital goods are licensed is merely a convenience introduced by the consumer industry by abusing a law that is light years away from catching up with the types of assets that we have in the 21st Century.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:23 AM   #30
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Why can they only buy a bundle of 26 loans? Why not pay the publishers $0 for the ebooks and then 1/26th the price for each loan or 1/50th for each loan? That way the libraries don't have to pay anything for the duds that sit on the shelf.

The problem is that the current copyright laws have broken the free market system, it doesn't work when one side can make all the rules. The publishers have demonstrated that they won't negotiate a fair deal with the libraries. The governments need to step in and mandate what the publishers will be paid via the library system.
This, to a t.
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