Interesting article from the Orlando Sentinel: Soaring e-book demand strains Central Florida library budgets

According to the article, libraries pay $84 for e-book titles as compared to $28 for print titles. Part of the higher cost is for convenience. It's not clear from the article if the $84 is for a single checkout copy or multiple (x number of) concurrent checkouts. Either way, e-book pricing, whether for consumers or libraries, seems to be upside down v. hardcopy.

We've been using library e-book lending on our Kindles. The process is a little clunky. In the case of Blount County the main difficulty is finding the link to the e-book library. Then, once you're there you have to log in again.

Both Blount and Knox Co. libraries use the "Overdrive" system which is OK once you figure it out. For Kindle, though, you have to go to Amazon to actually download your book or use USB transfer. (Tip: you can download one checkout to multiple Kindles on your account.)

Looking at instructions for other Overdrive apps (for tablets, etc.), it sounds a little more complicated to set up but possibly smoother to use once it is. Or you can just use Amazon's Kindle app for your device.

If you want to check out a book for longer than the default seven days you have to change your account to set a new default. (We set ours to 21 days and check them back in promptly when finished.)

Blount Co. offers e-books through the Tennessee R.E.A.D.S. program for regional libraries. Knox Co. appears to operate their own program.

I'm not able to find much info about how these programs are funded, how many copies of e-books are available for checkout, etc. For the TN R.E.A.D.S. program it's also not clear if the available checkout copies are shared across all libraries or per-library. Either way, there are usually waiting lists for current best sellers.

It's still a pretty good deal. There are lots of great titles and the cost (free) can't be beat.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Wonder what the implications are for this push to replace print textbooks in schools with digital media? Similar price variations?

michael kaplan's picture

much higher profits for the

much higher profits for the publishers. the libraries may actually be saving money by cutting overhead. imagine how many fewer books pass by the circulation desks ...

Average Guy's picture

Publishing houses are too big to


TV manufactures got small enough to drill, so they were when the flat panel price fiixing case came.

Who owns RCA these days?

Bertelsmann owns Random House and Uncle Rupert owns Harper Collins.

That said, most people don't bat at eye at paying $2 transaction fees to an automated machine while the same transaction at a bank with a smiling, helpful human being has no fee.

Most people don't understand how businesses are cashing in on them with automation. Adults that do generally shrug their shoulders, young people utilize torrents.

Michael's picture

Here's an Excellent Piece

Here's one of the most thoughtful pieces I've read on the industry of publishing, it's history, and its current state.

An excerpt:

"Under a digital publishing model, while the costs of creating the text don’t vary, the model for reproducing the text for mass consumption is entirely different. The marginal cost is zero: It costs as little to produce the billionth copy as it costs to produce the second copy. As abundant as analog reproduction made books and other cultural artifacts, digital reproduction makes them all the more so—not because it changes the resources required to create, but because it changes what is required to reproduce. Copyright, though nominally instituted to encourage the creation of a work, has as its only logical purpose the encouragement of the reproduction of the work. What we see again and again in our society is that people do not need to be encouraged to create, only that businesses want methods by which they can minimize the risk of investing in the creation."


Average Guy's picture

Artists in the digital world

I've been surprised by the slow growth of commercial peer to peer sharing in the art world.

If I were a musician I'd much rather sell 10k songs from my own site, than I would 100k from iTunes.

The return would be no different.

It would be harder for authors, but a few well placed digital ads with sample chapters could create awareness like a musical tour would for musicians.

smalc's picture

Using Overdrive with the Nook

Using Overdrive with the Nook is much, much easier than the Kindle. It's pretty seamless.

I also use Overdrive for audiobooks for the car, placed on my iphone. Fortunately, once you put an audiobook on your device it does not expire, since I would never get one finished in the allotted time.

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