Friday, March 11, 2011

Ebooks and Libraries

One snippet of news that skimmed past me recently was about publishers who want libraries to pay more for ebooks. Specifically, pay more money once they've lent the ebook out a certain number of times. I think 26 times was quoted as a figure, but I can't remember which publisher/s (hence the 'skimmed'). This set me thinking about how libraries pay for books, and what publishers receive.

I can see why a publisher might want to make more money this way. After all, the ebook is going to be lent electronically with no damage, whereas a hardcover or paperback tends to start falling apart after 20 or 30 borrowings (especially if a borrower drops it in the bath, for example). So a well-borrowed book might need to be replaced, and in that case, the publisher would get more money. You can kind of see their logic.

But ... that's likely to only happen for the Grishams, Roberts, Pattersons and Meyers, surely. What about all the books a library buys (and they buy lots of hardcovers that most of us can't afford) that don't get borrowed 40 times? That might only go out of the library 10 times and still be in good condition for many years? Doesn't it really even out in the long run? What do you think?

No comments: