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Old 11-01-2019, 11:17 AM   #1
jhowell
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Unhappy Free Library of Philadelphia discontinuing remote memberships

Just received this email from the Free Library of Philadelphia:

Quote:
Dear Customer:

In order to focus its efforts and resources on customers in its direct service area, the Free Library will no longer offer paid-access cards.

Your paid-access card will remain valid and usable for the duration of the term for which you paid. At the end of that term, you will no longer be able to access the Free Library’s resources, and you will be unable to renew your card for a further term.

Thank you for your understanding!
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Old 11-01-2019, 11:23 AM   #2
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Yeah, I just got that too. I haz a sad. They're a great source for best sellers if you don't mind waiting a month or three.
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:12 PM   #3
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Oh dear. I hope other libraries don't follow suit. I borrow a lot from Brooklyn Public Library.
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:15 PM   #4
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I understand why they're making this call and FLP OD has gone downhill, however, they're my only source for Hoopla and I borrow a ton of audiobooks there.
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:58 PM   #5
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I also got that today.
Sad, I would have preferred a price increase if their issue is cost.

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Old 11-01-2019, 02:04 PM   #6
jhowell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
I understand why they're making this call and FLP OD has gone downhill, however, they're my only source for Hoopla and I borrow a ton of audiobooks there.
I also found the wait lists at OverDrive for the Free Library to be excessively long.

I will miss the access they provide to Freading. That has a large collection of back catalog e-books from publishers like Open Road Media with no waiting lists.
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Old 11-01-2019, 06:27 PM   #7
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Unhappy Free Library of Philadelphia discontinuing remote memberships

The Free Library of Philadelphia is discontinuing their paid access library cards effective immediately. Sad day.


Dear Customer:

In order to focus its efforts and resources on customers in its direct service area, the Free Library will no longer offer paid-access cards.

Your paid-access card will remain valid and usable for the duration of the term for which you paid. At the end of that term, you will no longer be able to access the Free Library’s resources, and you will be unable to renew your card for a further term.

Thank you for your understanding!
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Old 11-01-2019, 06:48 PM   #8
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I'm surprised that it's (apparently) not cost-effective for FLP to offer paid cards. I gave up my membership a few years back when their audiobook acquisitions, in particular, seemed to become quite meager.
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Old 11-01-2019, 06:58 PM   #9
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I've moved FLP posts from another thread to this one.
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I'm surprised that it's (apparently) not cost-effective for FLP to offer paid cards. I gave up my membership a few years back when their audiobook acquisitions, in particular, seemed to become quite meager.

FLPs ebook selection has remained good; at least in my interests - mystery and history. Unlike Brooklyn Library, which has been terrible for ebooks for the last year.

There is no explanation on the FLP website why this decision was made.

I'm sure the local FLP patrons are thrilled to see competition for ebooks and audiobooks will decrease for them over the next year. How this will effect supply, only time will tell.

Those folks that have been using FLP because their local library does not provide a good selection of ebooks and/or audiobooks are going to be searching for another alternative soon.
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:35 PM   #11
issybird
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElspethB View Post
Oh dear. I hope other libraries don't follow suit. I borrow a lot from Brooklyn Public Library.
For those whose native library is lacking, a paid membership elsewhere is a colossal bargain. My own state library is poor and while some communities purchase additional books for their own patrons, mine does not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I'm surprised that it's (apparently) not cost-effective for FLP to offer paid cards. I gave up my membership a few years back when their audiobook acquisitions, in particular, seemed to become quite meager.
I get it. When you look at what the publishers charge for a single license, $50 doesn't go that far and you have to assume that those who pay for a card are at least relatively heavy users.

I borrow a lot of audiobooks through their Hoopla portal.

Still, if FLP wanted to cut back on the wait times, the obvious change would be to limit borrows to two weeks and not three.
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:55 PM   #12
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I wonder what annual fee it would take to operate a national digital library. Little physical overhead to drain resources compared to a brick library, but also lacking mandatory contributions by non-patrons (ie: taxpayers).

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Old 11-01-2019, 08:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElspethB View Post
Oh dear. I hope other libraries don't follow suit. I borrow a lot from Brooklyn Public Library.
I changed my out-of-state membership from Philadelphia to Brooklyn Library a couple years ago and enjoy the larger audiobook selection particularly. Brooklyn (so far) still welcomes out-of-state members.

Details:
Spoiler:
Out-of-State Residents (non-NYS residents)
Non-NYS residents may apply for a Brooklyn Public Library membership and enjoy access to our extensive selection of Articles & Databases and eBooks. There is an annual, non-refundable $50 fee for out-of-state cardholders.

Get a Library Card (Non-NYS residents)
Once your application is submitted, a representative will contact you within five (5) business days with the next steps.

If you choose to pick up your library card, you may do so by visiting any one of our 59 locations and speak with a staff member. The $50.00 annual, non-refundable fee may be paid at the time of pick-up.

We currently do not accept applications from international residents at this time.

Renewals - Out of State Residents: Library cards expire every year. To renew your out-of-state membership, please send an e-mail to osbplcard@bklynlibrary.org with your library card barcode and copy of acceptable ID. A $50.00 non-refundable annual fee will be applied to your account.


The application process starts here
You don't have to visit a NY library in person, but you'll need to submit a copy of your ID to confirm your physical residence; and your library member number (you select your 4 digit PIN in the application) required to borrow ebooks and audiobooks gets sent by email fairly quickly, and your card will follow by mail. Annual renewal is painless; once you send an email request to renew, $50 in fees is added to your library account and you can pay by credit card.

I'm very happy with my Brooklyn Overdrive membership and hope that the facility continues to be available!
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Old 11-01-2019, 09:06 PM   #14
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Just speculating, but I wonder if this might be part of the ongoing ‘discussions’ between the libraries/ALA and publishers about licensing terms.

Back in July when the Macmillan CEO announced upcoming changes to book releases, among other reasons, he cited:

“The increase in library ebook reading is driven by a number of factors: a seamless delivery of ebooks to reading devices and apps (there is no friction in e-lending, particularly compared to physical book lending), the active marketing by various parties to turn purchasers into borrowers, and apps that support lending across libraries regardless of residence (including borrowing from libraries in different states and countries), to name a few.”

Could be libraries are deciding the extra income from out of staters isn’t enough to make up for extra hassle, including from the publishers. Just guessing, though.

Needs more friction!!

https://www.publishersweekly.com/bin...004/4222-1.pdf
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Old 11-01-2019, 10:19 PM   #15
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Just speculating, but I wonder if this might be part of the ongoing ‘discussions’ between the libraries/ALA and publishers about licensing terms.
We'll see if others follow. But I'd think that the one publishers would have noticed first would have been Brooklyn.

Another speculation could be that there wasn't enough revenue generated to make the exercise a net benefit to Philadelphians. As far as charging more than Brooklyn for fewer titles, they might have thought that idea unfair to remaining out of town patrons.

Another speculation is that, without any threats from publishers, their lawyer nixed it out of an abundance of caution.

Another remote membership practice is their allowing Pennsylvanians outside Philadelphia to borrow for free. While this is almost universal practice, in the state, for paper books, some suburban counties do not practice reciprocity with their eBook collections.

I wonder if Brooklyn will respond to decreased competition by raising their price. If I was on their board, I would

EDITED: I just realized that raising the price may have issues. Profitable borrowers, who only take out a few titles a year, would drop out, leaving you with those who borrow so frequently as to make profitability impossible, even at a much higher price.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 11-01-2019 at 11:23 PM.
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