DCL eBook Price Comparison Report – April 2014

Submitted by Rochelle Logan, Douglas County Libraries

For this pricing report, we pulled the bestseller list from Digital Book World. The blog post on DBW about their bestsellers brings up an interesting point. Self-published works don’t always make it onto these types of lists even when they are wildly successful if they do not have an ISBN. “Our system requires an ebook have an ISBN in order to link it across retailers. Many self-published books don’t have an ISBN and will be invisible to our process.”


Press Release: LSTA awards Douglas County Libraries and CLiC more than $209,000

Originally released 11/21/13 by Douglas County Libraries.

Douglas County Libraries (DCL) and partner the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) were recently awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant of $209,460 for their project proposal, “eVoke 2.0: Colorado Statewide eBook Pilot Project.”

The project team, consisting of staff from DCL and CLiC, felt that the ever-increasing use of e-books and e-readers demands that libraries become strong players in digital content delivery to remain vital and relevant to the communities they serve.

From 2011 to 2012, the percentage of Americans who owned an e-book reader leapt from 18 to 33 percent, up from 6 percent in 2010. (Governing Magazine, July 2013, “Can Libraries Survive the eBook Revolution”). According to Forrester, the projected number of e-book readers will increase exponentially from 3.7 million adults in 2009 to a predicted 59.6 million in 2015. At the same time, e-book spending will reach a record high of nearly three billion dollars (Forrester – Research eReader Forecast, 2010-2015).

Douglas County Libraries director Jamie LaRue states, “With the knowledge of these findings and predictions, it is urgent for libraries to be forward thinkers and leaders in the e-content digital world.”  Jim Duncan, CLiC executive director adds, “Library districts, and rural libraries in particular, lack the funds, personnel or expertise to innovate for this future or to build and maintain an infrastructure that will enable the acquisition and delivery of e-books. So in order to assist libraries throughout our state and hopefully globally, we felt now was the time to proactively face this challenge and find a solution for all libraries.”

The goal of the eVoke project is to develop an alpha stage end-to-end cloud e-content infrastructure that can provide digital content purchasing and lending capabilities to all Colorado libraries. By the end of the grant project phase in October 2014, the alpha stage e-content management platform will meet a list of eight functional requirements as set and tested by the eVoke Advisory Committee (which includes representatives from the Colorado State Library, CLiC, Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, DCL and Marmot Library Network). This list includes milestones such as allowing library users to search and access e-content alongside physical content, see real-time availability, and download titles from within library catalogs. The project team hopes to demonstrate a compelling e-content delivery alternative to what exists today and build the foundation for a more sustainable system that enables all Colorado libraries (including more than 80 rural and multi-type libraries) new and exciting delivery options. The new system will also allow libraries to purchase e-content through a comprehensive acquisition system, and present e-content to the public through a user-friendly interface.

The project team, led by project manager Monique Sendze, associate director of information technology at DCL, has already begun work on this exciting project. The team will post regular project updates at www.evokecolorado.info. Sendze encourages interested members of the community to visit the project website, “and share in our enthusiasm as we work on this exciting and innovative library project.”

The Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) connects 400+ libraries to better serve Colorado residents. Core services include operation of the statewide library courier, cooperative purchasing for a variety of products and services, delivery of continuing education events and in-the-field consulting, and AspenCat, a union catalog serving nearly 50 libraries. Learn more at http://clicweb.org.

Douglas County Libraries is a passionate advocate for literacy and lifelong learning. It checks out more than 8 million physical and digital materials annually. Seven locations offer wifi, research resources, Storytimes, public meeting spaces and interesting programs and events for all ages.

“This program was funded in part with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which administers the Library Services and Technology Act.

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

Are eBooks “Saving” Traditional Publishing?

Check out this article from early October in Forbes that points to self-publishing as a disruptive, yet beneficial force to the publishing industry in 2012. While U.S. sales profits were down overall on print books, the rapid increase in eBook sales kept profits flat. Publishers are figuring out how to take advantage of discount eBook pricing to sell more titles overall.  It seems, they are also teasing their way into direct-to-consumer sales by leveraging their strongest brands.

Is Publishing Still Broken? The Surprising Year In Books, Forbes 10/4/2013

“An increase in sales on flat revenue means one thing: lower pricing. While print book sales from traditional publishers did decline, eBook sales dramatically increased.  The spike in eBook sales kept overall revenue flat and sales volume was up by nearly 200 million books. <snip>> … This doesn’t tell the whole story, of course.  An increase in sales on flat revenue means one thing: lower pricing. While print book sales from traditional publishers did decline, eBook sales dramatically increased.  The spike in eBook sales kept overall revenue flat and sales volume was up by nearly 200 million books.”

Any thoughts on what the implications are to libraries?

The Big 5 and Sales to Libraries: an Update

There have been some interesting changes as of late. It seems like a good time for a summary of the Big 5 (=6-1 since the July 1, 2013 Penguin Random House merger) and their willingness to sell eBooks to Libraries.

  1. Hachette – As of May 2013, are selling all titles on the big 3 platforms (OverDrive, B&T Axis360, and 3M Cloud Library) but have a 2-tier pricing model. New titles will be 3 times the print cover price and after 1 year prices will be 1.5 times the price of the highest edition currently in print. Source.
  2. Harper Collins – Still no provisions for permanent ownership as they are sticking to the 26 circulations per “purchase” model. Available on all 3 platforms.  Prices are generally a bit higher than consumer pricing. Source: Sari Feldman presentation to the ALA Virtual Town Hall on Ebooks, 10/23/2013.
  3. MacMillan – As of October 2013, making all 11,000+ titles in their backlist (over a year old) available for a 2-year or 52 circulations (whichever comes first) license term. On all 3 platforms, plus Recorded Books. Prices will stay high at $25 per title, even for older content. Source.
  4. Penguin (Penguin Random House) – As of September 2013, despite the merger with Random House, will maintain separate contractual terms. All eBooks will be available via all 3 vendor platforms, except via Kindle on Overdrive. Prices are supposed to be set at consumer market price but limited to a 1-year licensing term. Source.
    Random House (Penguin Random House) – Since February 2012, are selling all titles and allow a purchase/perpetual license. Available on all 3 platforms plus Ingram. The pricing is typically multiple times higher than the consumer price. Source.
  5. Simon & Schuster – As of April 2013, running a testing pilot to make ebooks available to 3 library systems in NYC via the 3M and B&T platforms. Books will be available for purchase (even if not checked out) and libraries are getting a 1 year licensing term before having to re-purchase. Source.

A summary:
Overall, prices are decreasing. There are no discounts for bulk purchasing. Each publisher has only one pricing model, and they are all different. (Summary comments made by Sari Feldman at the ALA Virtual Town Hall on Ebooks)

Amigos Receives TSLAC Grant to Fund E-book Project

- Submitted by Christine Kreger, Colorado State Library

“Amigos Library Services (Amigos) announces it has received a Library Cooperation Grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). The grant will help fund a project to develop a new e-book distribution platform. The planned service will provide e-books for library patrons, searchable through an Amigos search interface or a local library catalog. Amigos will create the platform and negotiate directly with publishers to obtain content.”

Read the full announcement from Amigos.