Publishers hold on to e-books

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 01/03/2013

Libraries are finding it more difficult and much more expensive to stock their virtual shelves than the metal shelves. That, according to Barry Trott, digital services manager for Williamsburg Regional Library, is because publishers are reluctant to license e-books to libraries.


Dec 26, 2012

The Virginia Gazette

Libraries are finding it more difficult and much more expensive to stock their virtual shelves than the metal shelves.

That, according to Barry Trott, digital services manager for Williamsburg Regional Library, is because publishers are reluctant to license e-books to libraries. "Random House is really the only one of the big publishers who will license e-books to libraries, and they've just increased their prices," he said in a telephone interview Monday.

As an example, Trott said an individual can buy an e-book of David Baldacci's latest thriller "The Forgotten" for about $12.99. The publisher would charge a library "between $75 and $85" for multiple readings.

Publishers believe that if e-books are available at libraries, then they won't be able to sell them to individuals.

Trott said that's probably not true. "Research shows that people who use the library are more likely to buy books and other media than those who do not." Trott said it's a case of an industry in transition."Publishers, like anyone in the print media, newspapers and magazines, are trying to find their way in this new digital world. They are searching for a model that works. From the library's point of view, we think we should have equal access to the materials." Trott said use of e-books at the library has grown rapidly. "After the holidays, I'd expect we'll see increased demand from people who got readers and tablets for Christmas."