It's been some 6 months since the last time the major publishers issued an assault on library ebooks, and today fired another salvo.
Overdrive sent out an email today to their library partners with the sad news that Hachette was raising the wholesale price of ebooks. While this increase won't be as bad as the one Random House handed out earlier this year, but it's still going to be painful:
Dear Library Partner,
Hachette will be raising its eBook prices on October 1, 2012 on their currently available eBook catalog (~3,500 eBook titles with release dates of April 2010 and earlier). On average prices will increase 220%.
Orders for Hachette eBook titles at current pricing must be submitted in Content Reserve by 11:59 pm US Eastern Time on Sunday, September 30, 2012. This includes any orders that are currently in your Content Reserve work queue as well as new orders created during the remainder of the month. Any orders with Hachette eBook content left in your work queue and submitted after September 30th will be processed under the new pricing.
Effective October 1, 2012, the new prices will be reflected in Content Reserve.
OverDrive Collection Development Team
Hachette used to be one of the bright lights in library ebooks because they charged the regular retail price for their ebooks. And even though they wouldn't sell their front list titles to libraries, at least we knew the titles would eventually be available. Only now those titles will be terribly expensive.
So the current state of the library ebook market is this:
- 2 major publishers which charge high prices (Hachette, Random House)
- 2 major publishers which won't sell at all (Macmillan, Simon & Schuster)
- Penguin, which is only selling ebooks to ibraries grudgingly and with support for the Kindle explicitly blocked
- HarperCollins, which imposed a 26 checkout limit for library ebooks
And of course there are the many other publishers who sell ebooks and other digital content to libraries. Those 6 titans are not the whole of the ebook market, and it's important to keep that fact in mind. And thanks to their non-presence in the library ebook market, they're not even a majority of that market.
image by (vincent desjardins)