Friday, March 02, 2012

eBook Pricing: Like that of Pop Audiobooks without Ownership of the Purchased Item

Wondering how much Random House pricing increased for Overdrive content, NTLP Digital Media Collection Development Coordinator Marci Chen made a duplicate cart of the big RH order she just placed for North Texas Libraries on the Go (NTLP-area Overdrive consortium). She found that a 200% increase was the norm, with the increase for some titles as high as 300% or more. We have no idea regarding what portion of each increase came from RH vs how much reflects Overdrive's markup. Our concern is the suddenness of the increase, the related challenge of budgeting for constant, unknown and completely unpredictable price increases, the total amount of the increase, and the impacts on library personnel and on the library's image within its community when we are unable to meet expectations.

eBook pricing is becoming something like that of pop audiobooks - without the result of library ownership of the purchased item. The average eBook price from our recent order is $39.77 per title. Most titles are in the $25-45 range butsome popular titles are $75-$135 . For our consortium, the Overdrive price of No Higher Honor - Condoleezza Rice - is $105, up from $35 after this latest round of price increases through Overdrive. To provide some context to that comparison: Amazon Kindle's current retail price for individual consumers to purchase the eBook is $15.99. As of the 3/01/12 holds report, North Texas Libraries on the Go is at 80% of the budget allotted for holds for March."

"I'm worried that, between the lack of content available and the new pricing structures, we won't be able to meet the demand for popular materials," says Marci. "The thing that frustrates me the most is that all of this is happening at a time when libraries are hit hard in the budget gut. I'm ready for new and innovative solutions for our patrons."

A couple of related items which have caught our attention today are from Digital Shift, from Agnostic, Maybe - the neverending reference interview of life and from Publishers Marketplace.

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