Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Random House Increases Price of EBooks in OverDrive

On March 1, 2012 Random House increased its prices of eBooks available through OverDrive by approximately 200 to 300%. This increase was announced at the beginning of February, at the same time that Random House affirmed that it would continue to sell eBooks to libraries without any lending restrictions. Although they knew it was coming, librarians did not expect the increase to be so steep. One article posted on the change pointed to the “sticker shock” occurring in the library world.

The development was widely reported in the news by both library and non-library sources. Many librarians initially reacted with anger – even voicing the need for legislation. Since then though, other, more somber ideas, such as what else you can do with your eBook budget and whether or not libraries should actually be in the eBook business, have surfaced. With all the upsets libraries have faced in the last year - HarperCollins’ move to 26 checkouts in March 2011 and Penguins’ discontinuation of sales through OverDrive this February – it is not surprising to see librarians considering other courses of action.

Whatever the outcome that libraries choose, it does mean providing patrons with a more limited eBook selection. Within OverDrive there are still many titles for $4.00 and up, but when a New York Times bestseller increases from $27.00 to $85.00, it behooves us, even more so, to explain to our patrons why we have the selection we do in OverDrive. For some great ideas on how to do this, check out Librarian By Day’s post, “How to Talk to Your Patrons About Penguin & Other Publishers Not Loaning eBooks to Libraries." Additionally, you have any questions, comments, or thoughts about this matter and moving forward, we would love to hear them.

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