If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know I LOVE my libraries. I’ve always got movies, books or audiobooks checked out or on hold; I buy most of my reading material from their annual used book sales (with help from Finn McSpool); I visit libraries while on vacation; and I even picked up Mr Husband from my local library.
So, you do NOT mess with my library!
And that’s exactly what some Big Five Publishers are trying to do.
Macmillan and other traditional publishers want to limit libraries from being able to purchase new ebooks to loan out to their patrons.
To which I say, WTF?
Their “reasoning” (and I use the term loosely) is that people checking out ebooks from libraries means that those people won’t buy books. So yes, library patrons are stealing money from the poor bedraggled publishers, according to Macmillan’s CEO John Sargent and others.
Um, but haven’t libraries been lending people books at no cost since the concept of libraries began? In fact, I’m pretty sure those damn librarians have been letting their patrons read hardbound and paperback books without charging them a cent as long as I can remember. They’re like the Robin Hoods of reading!
But I guess letting libraries hand out physical books is a-okay. It must just be the ebook lending that’s making our poor little trad publishers have to go out and panhandle. Sorry, I’m confused.
Here’s the deal. Libraries pay out the nose for most ebooks. If an ebook retails for say $5, libraries pay anywhere from two to four times that amount to include it in their collection precisely for the reason that the books get checked out by dozens of people.
This is no different from them paying $20 for a physical book and checking that book out to dozens of people. For most ebooks, each copy can only be checked out to one patron at a time, same as a physical book.
Get it? Ebooks are no different than physical books in regards to lending.
Also, some ebooks have a limit on how many times they can be checked out before the library has to buy them again. I don’t know the exact number, but let’s say 100 times, then the library has to decide whether or not to buy the book again for its patrons.
So, I’m confused as to why trad publishers think they aren’t getting their fair share of the library pie.
As an indie author, I’m thrilled when I see a library has purchased my ebooks. I do set my library price about three times higher than my retail price, but (because I don’t have any checkout limit set on my books) that price gets them the book for as long as they want to keep it in their system.
Actually, maybe this Big Five BS is a good thing. It’ll force libraries to purchase more books by indie authors. Maybe I shouldn’t be making this plea/argument at all.
Ah well, I’ve already begun and really, it’s for the libraries. And readers who can’t afford to buy books. Everyone should read. Reading is the best thing ever (okay, cookies and wine are pretty good too…while you’re reading)!!! Reading is relaxing, it’s good for your brain, it does stuff like allow you to learn things (gasp!).
And libraries help us do exactly that, but if trad publishers start getting even more greedy, they will ruin what libraries are all about….getting books into the hands of readers!
Please Sign the Petition!!
So, if you agree with me and if you want to support libraries, reading and learning, I encourage you to head over to the petition below and tell Macmillian to stick this idea that ebook lending doesn’t make them money right up where the sun doesn’t shine (I think the petition puts this in a bit nicer language).
And once you’re done, be sure share this post or the petition with another library lover.
I also wouldn’t complain if you recommended one of my books to your local library. Okay, maybe that was a bit pushy, but you can’t fault me for trying :))
What do you think? Are publishers being greedy or do you agree that they’re losing money on ebook lending? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Oh, and about that writing update I promised, I’ll have it for you Saturday!