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Topic: Penguin doesn't want libraries to lend ebooks!

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Subject: Penguin doesn't want libraries to lend ebooks!
Date Posted: 3/14/2012 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
Posts: 9,342
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I recently checked out an ebook from my library, and chose Kindle...when taken to the Amazon page, it said publisher restrictions would only allow the book to be downloaded with a USB.  That didn't make any sense to me...I'm using a computer...and there was no download button.  So, I contacted the elending, and they forwarded me to this bit of news.

I thought this is pertinent to all of us who love books.  I am guessing that Amazon strongarmed them to back off a little (good!).  I am rather disgusted with this issue.  What right do they have to say that I can only borrow an ebook from my library, if 1) I physically go to the library , and 2) I can only borrow if I have a Kindle, not if I use a program on my PC?  In fact, that is completely contrary to their gripe of 3rd party involvement.  They don't lose a dime when I borrow an ebook from my library...and at the prices the libraries are being charged for ebook lending!!!?  If I buy a book, it's a used book anyway.

If I did buy books, I'd boycott Penguin.          http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/02/ebooks/penguin-group-terminating-its-contract-with-overdrive/

 

Penguin Group Terminating Its Contract with OverDrive

 
 

Penguin group logo Penguin Group Terminating Its Contract with OverDrive(This story has been updated to include OverDrive’s email to its partners.)

In a stunning development, Penguin Group has extricated itself from its contract with OverDrive, the primary supplier of ebooks to public libraries.

Starting February 10, Penguin, which had recently instituted limitations on library lending for ebooks and audiobooks, will now no longer offer any ebooks or audiobooks through OverDrive.

“Looking ahead, we are continuing to talk about our future plans for ebook and digital audiobook availability for library lending with a number of partners providing these services,” said Erica Glass, in a prepared statement.

Penguin is negotiating a “continuance agreement” with OverDrive, which will allow libraries that have Penguin ebooks in their catalog to continue to have access to those titles.

But since the company does not have a contract with 3M, the still fledgling but growing competitor to OverDrive, the practical effect of the decision will be to shut down public library access to additional Penguin ebook titles (not physical titles) for the immediate future.

OverDrive could not be reached for comment, but an email sent to its partners has been posted at InfoDocket. It reads:

Starting tomorrow (February 10, 2012), Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.

We are continuing to talk to Penguin about their future plans for eBook and digital audiobook availability for library lending.

Penguin thus joins Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Hachette among the Big Six publishers in search of an ebook library lending model.

In its November decision to not allow library lending of its new titles (via any vendor), Penguin had initially also targeted OverDrive’s relationship with Amazon as a particular concern, which led the company to demand that OverDrive disable the “Get for Kindle” functionality for all Penguin ebooks.

The company backed away from that demand, but the security concerns have likely never been allayed. When borrowing with a Kindle via OverDrive, the transaction essentially is removed from the public library and takes place under the terms that Amazon has worked out with OverDrive.

This “disintermediation” of the public library has also left some publishers feeling a bit left out in the cold, since the supply chain that has grown up around library lending of ebooks has evolved among other third-party commercial entities without much input from the publishers.

Penguin said it is not getting out of the library business, and that it was encouraged by the recent talks it had with the leadership of the American Library Association in New York City.

“In these ever changing times, it is vital that we forge relationships with libraries and build a future together.  We care about preserving the value of our authors’ work as well as helping libraries continue to serve their communities,” Penguin’s statement reads. “Our ongoing partnership with the ALA is more important than ever, and our recent talks with ALA leadership helped bring everything into focus.”

However, one upshot of those talks, as LJ reported, was publishers’ concerns that if library loans become too “frictionless,” in other words, do not involve a physical trip to the library to borrow and return a book, that it will eat into their sales.

The desire to increase this friction may lead the recalcitrant publishers to demand a business model in which they will only make their ebooks available to public libraries if they are used in the library or if a patron is required to bring their device to the library and load the title onto the device in the library, then bring it home.

This would essentially eliminate all the convenience of borrowing ebooks from a home computer or device.



Last Edited on: 3/14/12 1:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/14/2012 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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Penguin isn't the only publisher to decide not to allow their catalog to be loaned out in ebook format. The other three publishers not to allow ebook loans are listed above. So, unfortunately, Penguin isn't alone in not having ebooks in libraries.

I am rather disgusted with this issue.  What right do they have to say that I can only borrow an ebook from my library, if 1) I physically go to the library , and 2) I can only borrow if I have a Kindle, not if I use a program on my PC? 

They have the say because they own the ebooks and all the rights to them. The law gives them the right to dictate loan terms and find an agreement with libraries or not allowed their books to be listed. (That is, until/if the copyright for that format goes back to the authors in question.)

The 'go to the library' demand and the fact they want you to have an ereader or tablet of some sort to keep people from breaking DRM on their computers and keeping copies. It's a DRM freakout.

In fact, that is completely contrary to their gripe of 3rd party involvement.  They don't lose a dime when I borrow an ebook from my library...and at the prices the libraries are being charged for ebook lending!!!?  If I buy a book, it's a used book anyway.

The problem is that they do see every loaned book as a sales loss, realistic or not. They're paranoid and freaking out about ebooks, and DRM and possible piracy, but they really don't have any idea what they're doing. So we've been seeing a lot of panic moves by all the publishers for at least the last 10 years or so. This is just another one, I'm afraid.

I've seen lately talk of libraries buying ebooks outright and then devising their own system to loan them out, or be able to hire a third party of their choice. Problem is, they ebooks would have to be bought with the rights to loan. I don't see that happening with the publishers putting the ebook prices so high (to make up for lost sales into perpetuity) that the libraries couldn't afford them anyway. If the publishers even agree to sell them ebooks at all. Kinda iffy.

But they do have the right to decide if they will or will not let their ebooks be loaned. And I don't see them suddenly 'seeing the light' about how loans actually turn into sales, and don't really affect their bottom line. They've been told this over and over by all manner of people in the industry, and have seen examples, but so far, it hasn't seemed to sink in.

I do think that as more and more Indy stores and publishers do well, and other freebies seem to successful as advertisements for authors and publishers, maybe there's hope they'll catch on to how to make even more money with ebooks while allowing discounts, loans and freebies. (Which means take advantage of all the freebies and give the Indies a try!) But I'm not holding my breath.

Date Posted: 3/14/2012 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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The 'go to the library' demand and the fact they want you to have an ereader or tablet of some sort to keep people from breaking DRM on their computers and keeping copies. It's a DRM freakout.

I wonder if they know how easy it is to get to the files on a e-reader or tablet?

Part of the 'go to the library' demand also might stem from the popularity of places like the Free Library of Philadelphia.  It seems like everyone has a library card through them.  They may fear the creation of gigantic libraries turning into something like Netflix.  I know there are other companies that don't do library loans either, but just not allowing them rather than imposing a ton of restrictions that are always changing seems more honest to me.

I'm not a Penguin fan.  When I see a completely ridiculous price on an e-book (like $19 for a book I have in MMPB), I've started to check the publisher.  Nine times out of ten, it's published by Penguin or one of it's imprints. 

Date Posted: 3/14/2012 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
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I wonder if they know how easy it is to get to the files on a e-reader or tablet?

I really doubt it. I've seen quote here and there that say to me they know little at all about their own industry, let alone anything new about ebooks and technology to read them.

I know there are other companies that don't do library loans either, but just not allowing them rather than imposing a ton of restrictions that are always changing seems more honest to me.

Penguin is just 'not allowing' them, from what I understand. They've supposedly left the stuff they leased up for the terms of the lease, but won't offer anything new for their catalog. The new demands just seem to be a negotiation point. I don't know if they really expect to get anything like that or not. They don't seem to feel the need the exposure, so if they don't get what ever they demand it's not going to bother them any.

I'm not a Penguin fan.  When I see a completely ridiculous price on an e-book (like $19 for a book I have in MMPB), I've started to check the publisher.  Nine times out of ten, it's published by Penguin or one of it's imprints.

Yeah, they've always seemed to be on the slow side to do anything new or catch on that when you have an unlimited supply of something, and you only have to store one copy of the item, it's pretty cost effective to sell thousands at a really low price rather than a very few at a really high price. It's not like they'll run out of copies of ebooks.

What'll be interesting, and I'm waiting to see, is if the libraries who thought they were buying their ebook copies rather than leasing them will be allowed to continue to loan out ebooks they've paid for from a third party lending site. There was some confusion about a Kansas library saying they were going to go to a new program to distritube their ebooks as they were told by the publishers representatives that the ebooks were purchased and the library owned them. IIRC the publishers were saying that the books were leased, and they only had limited use of the ebooks, that they weren't 'sold' to the libraries.

But that's been a while ago and haven't heard anything more about it.

 

 

 

Date Posted: 3/14/2012 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2006
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1) the ebook thing will eventually sort itself out the same way that Napster and Netflix and On Demand andItunes and any other number of digital media have found their niche. Ebooks will as well. Publishers have always hated libraries. This is no different.

2) I still forsee a private library system (simalar to, or maybe by, Overdrive) where instead of selling the books to public libraries and losing what they percieve as control, that publishers have seen the huge numbers of people (like me) who will buy a good digital library card, I think they will set up their own lending library where you buy a card and the publishers get paid a royalty per download. They control who gets in and they get the money.

Date Posted: 3/14/2012 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
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Okay, I'm not thrilled with the idea that Overdrive has almost a monopoly on library eBooks.  I do not think this is a cost effective way for libraries to be set up.  And Overdrive has some funky issues by itself.  Offering one set of eBooks to one library and another smaller set to another?  A for profit company controling library access?

But this BS?  Really.  It is time the publishers begin to educate themselves on their own product.  They can no longer hide behind the bookstores.  When they do dumb a** things, we learn about it.  The middle man has left the business.  We are now the customer.  They better get used to dealing direct with us.  And the fact that we like and defend libraries.

Date Posted: 3/15/2012 3:25 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
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We are now the customer.  They better get used to dealing direct with us.  And the fact that we like and defend libraries.

Yes!

 

"Amazon is stat-happy these days, and what they’re saying has been nothing but good news for publishers who embrace lending: The Hunger Games allows for lending but it nevertheless topped Amazon’s holiday sales charts. Authors who participate in Amazon’s KDP Select (which includes a lending component) saw an average sales increase of 26%.

The mounting evidence is that lending leads to sales. "

from the LendleBlog

Date Posted: 3/15/2012 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
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See its crap like this that is going to create more and more "free" sources of DRM stripped ebooks. If publishers continue to piss and moan about e-borrowing through libraries, then they are going to have to start dealing with more "free" libraries on line.

-RD

Date Posted: 3/15/2012 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
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Honestly, I can't get all that upset with the publishers (and many authors) who are just trying to protect their intellectual property from people who are stripping the VRAM from the lendables.

If I actually bought ebooks, which I don't as there are plenty out there for free, making a book lendable would make me more likely to choose the book.  I hardly ever reread a book, which is one of the biggest reasons why I continue to purchase hardcopy to trade here versus the convenience of an ebook.  Making it lendable would allow me to share it with others, many of whom will purchase it afterward if they liked it so much.

Although, I find the whole conversation somewhat laughable since most of us purchase books from UBS or other sources where the publisher and authors receive no profit.

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
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yes Jennifer, Good point on UBS.

-RD

Date Posted: 3/16/2012 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
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Actually they DO know how easy it is to strip the DRM off books and that is why they are so hesitant to allow libraries to even have them in the first place. We pay stupidly high amounts for ebooks. From what I understand its basically the same as buying the book 6 times at the price you'd pay at amazon the day after its released (so usually around $80-90 per title).

But if we buy a papercopy of the same book we only pay $10 or $15 and have no limits. I know one publisher only allows X number of borrows before it has to be rebought. 

Until they get their minds around what needs to be done, its going to be horrible.

Wont even get into the ripoff costs overdrive charges libraries, they are just as dumb.