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Old 07-18-2018, 05:02 PM   #1
jhowell
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Tor delays new-release sales to library ebook supplier Overdrive

From a new post on Teleread: Tor delays new-release sales to library ebook supplier Overdrive.

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TOR books no longer sells their front-list to libraries. We must wait at least 4 months after the publication date before their new titles will be released to Overdrive for us to purchase. They have decided that library sales may be negatively impacting their retail sales and are participating in a study that will attempt to determine the impacts of libraries on the book market and sales, especially regarding eBooks.
Until now Tor has been very e-book friendly, not forcing the inclusion of DRM on purchased books.

Last edited by jhowell; 07-18-2018 at 06:09 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:42 PM   #2
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Tor is a subsidiary of Macmillan and probably did not have a choice about participating in this study. I think most people who heavily read library books will continue to wait to read the books. Especially when eBooks give you more choices while waiting.
It feels more like the big publishers are trying to find another culprit in the decline of their sales.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:53 PM   #3
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Ebook prices continue to climb this is why the sales are down. The newest Johanna Lindsay book is like $14 and it's a regular size mass market. Nope, to the library I go where I'll have to wait a few months or wait for it go on sale. Too many books more in my price range. Publishers just don't get it.

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Old 07-18-2018, 07:13 PM   #4
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Just like millions wait until the paperback shows up in bookstores, library patrons generally are happy to wait months until their chosen book is available OR until it is found at a garage sale.
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blossom View Post
Ebook prices continue to climb this is why the sales are down.
As far as I can tell, Macmillan doesn't release sales figures. Is this inside information?

Regarding other big book publishers, it seems to me they are doing well while non-book publishers (newspapers and magazines) are doing poorly. Hypothesis: It's because book publishers haven't lowered prices the way failing periodical publishers have.

Of course, there are other factors, like digital advertising competing with newspapers ads.
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:31 PM   #6
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I thought a library borrow is nearly as expensive (to the library) as a sale when it comes to ebooks and Overdrive. Or am I missing something?
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
As far as I can tell, Macmillan doesn't release sales figures. Is this inside information?
No, we had a discussion at the Romance book club about it last week when Johanna Lindsey's book was released. We've notice this becoming a trend lately with a couple big name publishers. Some thought it was the publishers way of pushing print books by increasing the ebook price. I mean if you can get the paperback for 7.99 or the ebook for 13.99 which you going to go for? Many romance readers are frustrated at this new strategy. They will buy Print over the eBook or wait for a sale. My point is there is too many books out there reasonable price than to pay a high price for a ebook. It's not the libraries fault and punishing them isn't going to solve this problem. They want more sales then they need lower prices.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:03 PM   #8
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Are they really stupid enough to think that this will force the majority to buy a paper book rather than wait sometimes for months for their names to come to the top of the hold list at the library? Then they are more delusional than I thought.

That is the beauty about ebooks, there are tons of choices with reasonable prices, especially if you are a romance reader. Yes, I come across bad ones, that I simply stop reading and go on to the next one in my ever growing TBR pile.

The only BPH books I read come from the library. I will wait for the email that I'll get, but I'll still be reading other books.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blossom View Post
Ebook prices continue to climb this is why the sales are down. The newest Johanna Lindsay book is like $14 and it's a regular size mass market. Nope, to the library I go where I'll have to wait a few months or wait for it go on sale. Too many books more in my price range. Publishers just don't get it.

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But...if you’re talking about Marry Me By Sundown, the ebook is $13.99, hardback $17.10 and the MMP isn’t out until January 2019. Not really different from staggered release policies the way they have been for a long time.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:03 PM   #10
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I thought a library borrow is nearly as expensive (to the library) as a sale when it comes to ebooks and Overdrive. Or am I missing something?
I don't think you are missing something.

The four month delay will depress library sales revenue by X and increase non-library sales revenue by Y. If the experiment finds X is higher than Y, and they are smart, they'll end the experiment.

What I think would be less smart is to make decisions based on generalizations about reader/consumer psychology. Instead, if I was in marketing, I'd go with what the numbers tell me.

This isn't to say that they should only care about profits. But, well, as a library borrower, it's hard for me to get worked up if they want to maximize revenue from people who can afford to buy eBooks. I guess I could criticize them for delaying eBook access to readers in poverty. But if it's only four months, I can't get worked up about that either.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:06 PM   #11
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Staggered release of different formats is one thing, but withholding a format from libraries that is for sale to consumers seems different to me. It would be interesting if it resulted in a legal challenge.

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Old 07-18-2018, 11:31 PM   #12
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Staggered release of different formats is one thing, but withholding a format from libraries that is for sale to consumers seems different to me. It would be interesting if it resulted in a legal challenge.
If I remember right Penguin did this many years ago. I'm not sure if they still do.

I do know and I can only speak for romance that the libraries I belong to buy 98% Harpercollins 2% other. That may be a bit exaggerating but not really you see say 400 titles added and all but say 15-20 are non Harpercollins. So withholding titles won't change romance buying much at all.

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Old 07-19-2018, 12:42 AM   #13
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As little as I like it, I can't blame them for trying the experiment. If I was in their position I would certainly want to know what if anything library sales were costing me in terms of lost sales revenue. No doubt there will be a few extra sales from people who just can't wait, and some of these will no doubt choose paper books, especially if those paper books are discounted. Having said that I agree with cfrizz in her above post when she says of ebooks "there are tons of choices with reasonable prices". And then, of course, there is the proverbial elephant in the room. Not all of those who fall into the must read now category are going to pay for a copy. There will certainly be some who, perhaps even with some reluctance, hoist the Jolly Roger, denying the publisher any revenue at all and the author the pittance they would have received in royalties. Some of these lost customers may have even purchased the ebook had it been available at a price they considered reasonable.

I expect the experiment will likely show that early ebook availability in libraries has little impact on initial sales, but this is nothing more than an educated guess on my part. It will be interesting to see what happens, if indeed the results are ultimately shared publicly.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:15 AM   #14
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Stallman was right.

It's hilarious that we are willing to restrict virtual media in order to push the purchase of dead trees. Esp when we could be using hemp for paper but no, let's kill trees for books despite climate change and yet let's restrict *VIRTUAL* books because of...profit. And not even consumer profit but library profit.

What funny monkeys we are.

You know what's even funnier? I skirt the line but I couldn't care less. It will mean nothing. This is either about piracy or another attack on the poor or both. The people who are truly free will just wait and sooner or later, by one means or another, it'll be available. All it takes is one person. Probably before it hits the libraries. The only people this will affect are the poor, the people who need libraries the most. How interesting.

I'll go even further. No matter what the results are of this "experiment", I'm going to bet it's only going to go one way. The delay will get longer and longer and excuses will be found to make books more of an artificially scarce item then the unlimited access for all it will one day be, no matter what.

Oh well. I wish those who are intelligent and poor the best of luck and I hope one day the publishers realize they are fighting a battle already lost.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:03 AM   #15
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As little as I like it, I can't blame them for trying the experiment. If I was in their position I would certainly want to know what if anything library sales were costing me in terms of lost sales revenue. No doubt there will be a few extra sales from people who just can't wait, and some of these will no doubt choose paper books, especially if those paper books are discounted. Having said that I agree with cfrizz in her above post when she says of ebooks "there are tons of choices with reasonable prices". And then, of course, there is the proverbial elephant in the room. Not all of those who fall into the must read now category are going to pay for a copy. There will certainly be some who, perhaps even with some reluctance, hoist the Jolly Roger, denying the publisher any revenue at all and the author the pittance they would have received in royalties. Some of these lost customers may have even purchased the ebook had it been available at a price they considered reasonable.

I expect the experiment will likely show that early ebook availability in libraries has little impact on initial sales, but this is nothing more than an educated guess on my part. It will be interesting to see what happens, if indeed the results are ultimately shared publicly.

My guess is that it won't effect sales all that much either, but certainly it makes sense to test it. I might have gone with a subset rather than all, but real data beats SWAG, unless of course, you are in the business of selling SWAG's. My guess is that there just isn't much overlap between people who buy when a book first becomes available and people who prefer libraries.

I remember back when some publishers withheld ebooks for a period of time with the assumption that ebooks might hurt hard back sales, the finial books in the Wheel of Time series being an example. Since the practice as for the most part disappeared, I would assume that it probably didn't have much effect on hardback sales.
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