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Old 12-10-2023, 10:21 AM   #1
shalym
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Libraries: ‘We can’t do this on our own’

It looks like the State of CT may be getting ready to challenge publishers on the pricing scheme for e-books. They're going at it from both a consumer protection angle and from state contract law angle, since library budgets come from municipal budgets. Should be interesting, if anything comes of it.

http://digitaledition.courant.com/in...f-9e87748e5e1e

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Old 12-10-2023, 10:28 AM   #2
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Here's another article if anyone has problems with the one in the first post (I was told that it may be behind a paywall)

https://www.ctinsider.com/politics/a...s-17849256.php

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Old 12-10-2023, 01:47 PM   #3
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Archive org solves it by ignoring it.

UK and Ireland pay a licence fee per ebook simultaneous loan (like they buy paper books) and then on paper and ebooks pay a per loan royalty.

Amazon pays nothing up front and decides a "pot". Then invades privacy and pays author/publisher a fraction from the "pot" based on pages read.

Quote:
Connecticut librarians say they are victims of price-gouging by book publishers whose charges for eBooks are as much as five times the amount of traditional books.
But not all publishers do that.
Also in USA the publisher/author gets nothing extra per loan of any book?

See also USA Radio Stations vs rest of the world, where I think in USA no performer's rights royalty, only composers.

There is a problem if publishers are charging much more and also if there is no per loan royalty.

See also historic Video Libraries (VHS, DVD) where in many countries the Rental edition was many times cost of retail version. Originally in 1980s there was only one price, £50 to £200, but then when sales of VHS went mainstream, the retail was 1/4 to 1/10th of Rental version, thus almost all the VHS & DVDs I have have a box Not For Rental.

Of course I think US Libraries could buy a paper book from anywhere but in UK and Ireland originally it had to be a library copy.

This is not simple and part of a wider problem. There are ebooks on Amazon more expensive than the paper version.

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Other contractual restrictions, which librarians are fighting in the General Assembly with the assistance of bipartisan support from lawmakers, limit the use of individual eBooks for a maximum of two years or 26 "borrows." And unlike inter-library loans of traditional hard and paperbacks, eBooks are limited in use to individual libraries.
This is a problem too. We have part of that here. Book1 of a series can be removed from the library ebooks before book 3 is out. All ebooks should be forever. The only reason libraries get rid of paper ones is worn out or space. However the online ebook catalogue here isn't just the local library but the entire Irish region and it's supposed to go nationwide (but not all Island of Ireland).

I can see the Libraries winning some and losing some on this. Here the library is totally free for residents. A proportion of the Council budget pays for it. So sadly in a deprived area of the city the library is only open office hours 5 days a week, and no unaccompanied minors in any Library with only 1 staffer.
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Old 12-10-2023, 07:59 PM   #4
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What about if they charged libraries normal consumer price for an eBook. What is it, like 99% of that already goes to the publisher, authors get tiddly squat. So the publishers are paid right off the top, up front. After that, the libraries should be done with the publishers.
Then libraries own the book and can rent it out sequentially to as many users as they want for as long as they want. They charge 10 cents for every eBook loan - of which half of that goes to the library for ongoing support, and the other half goes to the author. The publisher gets nothing more after the initial sale to the library, because they are adding nothing more after the sale. Existing contracts between authors and publishers would certainly preclude this payment scheme, but laws could be written that mandate publishers to allow it for all future books. The signing over of rights to a publisher is an idea that needs to go the way of the dodo bird IMHO. I would be willing to pay a nominal amount to rent an eBook from the library, provided the payment goes to the author (or their estate if they still have copyright protection) and the library.
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Old 12-10-2023, 08:14 PM   #5
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Perhaps a reinvention of the old subscription libraries? Pay an annual fee for access to their ebooks with the library using some of that money to support subscriptions for students, etc. and part of it going into a pool for distribution to the authors (so much per loan to save working out how many pages or hours are being read).
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Old 12-11-2023, 12:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shalym View Post
It looks like the State of CT may be getting ready to challenge publishers on the pricing scheme for e-books. They're going at it from both a consumer protection angle and from state contract law angle, since library budgets come from municipal budgets. Should be interesting, if anything comes of it.
LION is my local library, and I have definitely noticed that if you don't get a book within a few months of when it was published, it might not be available ever again.

The "24 checkouts or 12 months" from publishers has to go. Pick one or the other, but not both.
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Old 12-11-2023, 02:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by nabsltd View Post
The "24 checkouts or 12 months" from publishers has to go. Pick one or the other, but not both.
Both of those are obscene.

Where is the "long tail" that digital promised?
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Old 12-11-2023, 04:11 PM   #8
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Exploding licenses is one reason I wasn't averse to the plan to delay release of ebooks to libraries, since a tradeoff was that one copy would remain available in perpetuity. I'd rather know I could get a book eventually than get it faster. It's frustrating when you find a book and realize you're too late. You can put it on hold just in case the library reacquires it, but that's a big if. In once case I know that I triggered a repurchase as the fifth hold, but in general I don't want to waste a hold on a faint possibility and I can't be the only one.
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Old 12-11-2023, 06:28 PM   #9
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I was appalled when I communicated with the local IT support for the library to discover that the publishers (most of them) expire Library licences. The Library doesn't have any storage issue with ebooks like they do with paper, nor do they wear out. It's the most dastardly thing I ever heard of in the book industry and I can't beleive a single Author that wants their books in a library want this.
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Old 12-12-2023, 09:30 AM   #10
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Are Audiobooks the same way? I noticed that most of the time now when I search for a book at my library, they have the audiobook but not the the ebook. I was going to ask them about that the next time I go in.
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Old 12-12-2023, 10:49 AM   #11
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I'm old enough to remember the little cards held in a paper pocket inside the library book cover. The card would be ink stamped with the return due date. Those little cards displayed the whole lending history of that individual volume. And I saw many, MANY books that had been checked out more than 24 times. If the 24-checkout limit is supposed to be based on the expected life of a paper book, I call baloney on that.
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Old 12-12-2023, 03:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cgsmom View Post
Are Audiobooks the same way? I noticed that most of the time now when I search for a book at my library, they have the audiobook but not the the ebook. I was going to ask them about that the next time I go in.
This is true for my local library as well.
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Old 12-12-2023, 07:46 PM   #13
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I'd THINK they'd charge even more for audio since they cost more in general, price wise and to create, but who knows. I think you may be seeing more of those versus E-books since Audiobooks are the most popular format right now with general public.
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Old 12-13-2023, 05:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calenorn View Post
I'm old enough to remember the little cards held in a paper pocket inside the library book cover. The card would be ink stamped with the return due date. Those little cards displayed the whole lending history of that individual volume. And I saw many, MANY books that had been checked out more than 24 times. If the 24-checkout limit is supposed to be based on the expected life of a paper book, I call baloney on that.
Yes, it's garbage. Also the life of a paper book is irrelevant. Expiring ebooks is just publisher greed, and not even logical.
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Old 12-13-2023, 11:33 AM   #15
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The Library doesn't have any storage issue with ebooks like they do with paper . . .
This is why the library eBook prices are reasonably much higher than paper.

Where I used to live, they renovated, about four years ago, the 30,000 volume physical public library for US$3 million -- about $100 a book.

Where I now live, a new showplace 53,000 volume replacement town library opened this year at a cost of US$21.7 million -- $409 a book!

These libraries do a lot more than warehouse books. The showplace has English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms. Still, at least half of it is a traditional library. And the cost of housing and circulating a physical book is a lot more than initial real estate costs.

I haven't run the numbers but believe there's a case for eBooks being cheaper than paper, adding up all library operating costs, even at current publisher prices. If not, Connecticut has the option of asking residents to go back to borrowing in person.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 12-13-2023 at 11:36 AM.
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