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Friday News and Deals: Penguin Pulls Entire Digital Catalog From...

News

Penguin has severed all ties with Overdrive which means that there will no longer be any titles from Penguin available for library loan in digital format. The parties are negotiating terms in which books that the libraries have already purchased can be lent but no agreement has been forthcoming. Chilling, isn’t it?

Perhaps libraries won’t need an agreement from the publishers in the future depending on the outcome of the ReDigi lawsuit. ReDigi is a company that allows the resale of mp3s. Capital Records sued for an injunction to shut down the site and the judge has denied that preliminary motion. The case will proceed to trial on the issues of fair use and the bounds of the first sale doctrine. The outcome of the ReDigi case, depending on how far up the ladder the appeal process goes (and I suspect it will go all the way to the Supreme Court if the case is not settled), may define the boundaries of ownership of digital products.

One librarian has posted a sign indicating that the reason certain content is not available to patrons is the result of decisions made by publishers. I hope more libraries post signs like this. The problem with the Big 6 publisher’s decisions is that a) it does not deter digital growth; b) it drives consumers to non big 6 content; c) it could increase piracy and d) it cedes more ground to Amazon.

Publishers Lunch goes into more detail about how publishers want to increase the fiction for digital lending including making the patron go to the library to borrow a digital book and requiring Kindle users to download lends to their computer and transfer the book to the device via a USB cable.  It’s a free article.

Today is the last day to register a comment or a suggestion for the next set of DMCA Exemptions. Every two years the Registrar of the Copyright Office issues exemptions to the DMCA.  Two years ago, the Registrar allowed jailbreaking and DRM stripping of ebooks in limited cases.  Here are the proposed exemptions.

Indigo sold Kobo to a Japanese company and is now suffering decreased profits. The president has resigned. One reason given for the declining profits was the low margin in print book sales and increased sales of low margin ereaders.

Indigo CEO Heather Reisman attributed reduced profits to “lower gross margins as a result of increased promotionaldiscounts to drive print sales and increased sales of low margin e-readers.”

Sarah Wendell has a hilarious blog post interpreting the future from futuristic romance covers. Spoiler: We all ride unicorns.

Deals

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  • And Then He Kissed Her – Laura Lee Guhrke by Laura Lee Guhrke * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • For Your Arms Only by Caroline Linden * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Cloaked with Bonus Materials by Alex Flinn * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Still in My Heart by Kathryn Smith * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

36 Comments

  1. Ridley
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 11:51:39

    Legally acquired digital media (motion pictures, sound recordings, and e-books) for personal use and for the purposes of making back-up copies, format shifting, access, and transfer.

    Please, please, please…

    ReplyReply

  2. Mireya
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 12:31:40

    Am I the only one who gets the impression that some publishers seem to have self-destructing tendencies?

    ReplyReply

  3. SAO
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 12:33:19

    Gosh, the publishers say that library lending evolved without any input from them. No clue! They were so busy hoping that e-books wouldn’t take off that they didn’t do any planning for the day they were. Maybe now it’s time to think about where books are going, not where they’ve been in the past.

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  4. Anthea Lawson
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 12:35:09

    I am eagerly awaiting some nimble start-up company that will accept self-published eBooks and make them available for distribution to libraries. Currently, none of the library distributors will do so…

    ReplyReply

  5. Brian
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 12:36:03

    The Diesel eBook Deal of the Day is Robyn Carr’s upcoming ‘Redwood Bend’ pre-order for $1.10

    Sony has the PRS-T1 on sale for $99 (thru 2/18) on their US webstore.

    DailySteals has the Nook Simple Touch for $69 (factory refurb, 1 year warranty, free shipping)

    ReplyReply

  6. Liz
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 12:55:12

    @Mireya at this point I would question the qualifiers “some” and “tendencies”. It seems to me that they’re all fighting tooth and nail to make as many bad business decisions as possible.

    ReplyReply

  7. Laura
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 13:09:17

    No more Penguin books to check out from my library? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    ReplyReply

  8. Mikaela
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 13:34:21

    A part me can understand how the publishers are reasoning. After all, they want people to buy their books. Despite that insight, I am mostly baffled since I have discovered a lot of authors through the library. For example, I discovered Kay Hooper, and bought her backlist. I discovered Allison Brennan and intend to buy the Lucy Kincaid novels. Right now, I am reading Victoria Laurie’s Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye. Which I got from the library. And, I love it and intend to buy the rest of her books. Would I have bought any of these authors? I might have picked up Allison Brennan. But the others? Probably not.

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  9. LG
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 13:49:40

    The thing about library lending is that there are annoyances people have to put up with in order to borrow books. There are lending periods – you can’t keep a borrowed book, whether physical or digital, forever. There are holds lists. For digital lending, those holds lists can be insanely long. Those are some of the main inconveniences, but there are more that I could list. That’s why library borrowing leads to buying for so many people. When you try something new, you’re willing to put up with library lending inconveniences. As you get more hooked on the author, series, genre, whatever, the inconveniences can start to outweigh the need to read more. I started buying J.D. Robb’s In Death books, including the ones I had already read, because I found that I was repeatedly checking them out from the library so that I could reread my favorite parts. I decided I wanted to own my own copies. I’ll admit that I bought the ones I had already read in used form, but everything else I bought as it came out, because I couldn’t wait. I had the book in my hand weeks or months before I could have gotten it through the library, considering that the holds lists were always in the double or triple digits.

    I wonder, do some publishers think that library lending is just “here, we’ll give you a free book, you can give it back to us whenever”? Like a bookstore that doesn’t charge anybody? There are tons of little inconveniences that they seem to forget about that can eventually push some readers to buy instead of checking out. So, instead of working with libraries, publishers like Penguin start treating them like another enemy.

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  10. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 14:15:28

    Who’s Penguin again?

    ReplyReply

  11. library addict
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 14:21:11

    Dumb move Penguin. And to blame Overdrive is even sillier.

    There are some authors I will buy in digital at Agency pricing, and they are nearly all Penguin authors, but it’s a very short list at the moment. So getting rid of their books from the library just means I won’t be trying any new-to-me Penguin authors.

    It’s agency pricing keeping me from purchasing more books, not library lending. My library’s selection of digital books is still pitifully small.

    ReplyReply

  12. Lynnd
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 15:15:58

    @library addict: I agree completely. I would also add that as far as the agency publishers go, Penguin seems to me to be the most regressive. At least in Canada, the e-books of mmpb authors are routinely priced highter than I can buy them in print and they never have any of their books on sale. I find that I still buy a few Penguin ebooks written by favourite authors, but I am not purchasing any of Penguin’s new authors and authors that are hit and miss (and if my library doesn’t get that author’s new books, chances are that author has lost me as a reader because I’m not going to be brought back into the fold). I am also not going back to print.

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  13. Ridley
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 16:01:08

    @Mikaela: Ah, Victoria Laurie. Funny she’s come up so much lately.

    ReplyReply

  14. Chicklet
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 16:09:53

    It takes a special kind of brain to look at ebook lending operations and think, “Hey, let’s dick over libraries and their users! That will be excellent PR!”

    ReplyReply

  15. library addict
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 16:31:31

    FTR, I do get why Penguin is upset with Overdrive in that checking out Kindle library books takes folks to Amazon’s site and can see why they feel that gives Amazon an unfair advantage over other book vendors. I checked out one book for the Kindle to PC app that was not avaialable as ePub and have received 3 or 4 emails from Amazon all about if I come back and buy the Kindle version all my booksmarks and notes will be preserved. I have a Sony, so don’t often buy Kindle books. But I certainly don’t get emails from Penguin, Sony, or anyone else to buy the other library books I have checked out. So the fact Amazon is able to collect data on books folks are checking out and turn around and market to them does present an opportunity other vendors do not have. Personally, I find it annoying when Amazon repeatedly emails me, but if I had a Kindle I can see how the notes/bookmarks thing would be a good selling point.

    But this is still throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    ReplyReply

  16. becca
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 17:23:34

    Yeah, Library Addict, this does seem to be aimed at Amazon. I haven’t checked out a mobi book lately from my library, but the one time I did, I never got emails from Amazon – maybe it’s a new policy since those long-ago days.

    ReplyReply

  17. Author on Vacation
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 18:13:40

    The refusal of any publisher to supply libraries should be recorded as the Intolerable Act of the 21st Century.

    ReplyReply

  18. Darlynne
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 18:19:22

    @library addict:

    [A]nd have received 3 or 4 emails from Amazon all about if I come back and buy the Kindle version all my booksmarks and notes will be preserved.

    Now why doesn’t Penguin–or any other Big 6 publisher for that matter–take the same approach as Amazon? In this example, I realize that Overdrive and Amazon collaborated, effectively cutting out Penguin, but surely this arrangement represents a similar opportunity to the publishers. I mean, what forward-looking business wouldn’t want to think strategically instead of crouching behind the bunkers and waiting until the shelling stops?

    Oh, wait, sorry, I lost my mind for a moment there. Publishers dealing with readers, the great unwashed? I’d better go lie down.

    ReplyReply

  19. Author on Vacation
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 18:29:50

    @Mikaela:

    “A part me can understand how the publishers are reasoning. After all, they want people to buy their books. Despite that insight, I am mostly baffled since I have discovered a lot of authors through the library…”

    I don’t completely agree with this. Publishers want profits, but publishing itself has certain moral connotations other businesses don’t. Publishers make information and media material available to the public. The idea of denying books to libraries to decrease availability of those materials offends me.

    ReplyReply

  20. TFQ
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 19:42:35

    @library addict: I’m not seeing any evidence that this is about helping the other bookstores compete with Amazon, though. If you have a Kindle (as opposed to Kindle app on your PC) you’re not going to be buying those books from another bookseller anyway. And pulling out of the Overdrive system altogether just means that those of us who use other e-readers don’t have the opportunity to try out new authors and go on to buy more books by those authors from the other booksellers.

    To me this seems entirely about some bone-headed idea that if they make it more difficult for library users to borrow e-books, they will shift to buying books. Otherwise, there would be no reason to try to increase the “friction” of the book borrowing process. I say boneheaded because the reality for me at least is that e-book borrowing replaced my print book borrowing, not my purchases of new books. That’s gone up since I got the e-reader — it’s just WAY too easy to hit that “buy now” button, not having to feel the pain of hauling the books home cross town on the bus! But even though it is misleadingly easy to buy books, I’m not going to be buying new copies of the books I would otherwise have borrowed or bought used. There’s a reason I wouldn’t have bought them outright in the first place.

    ReplyReply

  21. library addict
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 20:07:54

    @TFQ: In one of the press releases it mentions one of Penguin’s issues is the fact that they are not happy with the Kindle borrowing transactions not taking place behind Overdrive’s firewall.

    @Darlynne: I agree in theory, but with the way the checkout system works now the publishers are not given the information as to who checks out what. I think what my checkout habits are should be between me and my library. I am not sure how I actually feel that Amazon is given that info. But I get why Amazon wants the set-up to continue the way it is.

    As I said earlier though, all Penguin has to do to get me to buy more digital books is end the stupid agency pricing. I would happily pay full retail sometimes IF I also had the opportunity to buy books on sale/with coupons etc. like in the “old” days. I don’t understand why they don’t get that. But hey, Carina, Harlequin, Samhain, and others I am sure appreciate they get the bulk of my book budget now.

    ReplyReply

  22. TFQ
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 20:31:57

    @library addict: Oh, I agree they aren’t happy about Amazon being the delivery point for library borrowing for Kindle readers. But what they are doing doesn’t help the other booksellers compete with Amazon. To me, the actions speak louder than the words here.

    ReplyReply

  23. Lil
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 20:42:53

    Sigh.

    All the books I have ever bought have been by authors I first read via the library.

    How can publishers be so dumb?

    ReplyReply

  24. Brian
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 21:42:41

    @library addict:

    In one of the press releases it mentions one of Penguin’s issues is the fact that they are not happy with the Kindle borrowing transactions not taking place behind Overdrive’s firewall.

    I know they say that, but it sounds like an excuse for something they wanted out of anyway. IIRC when the whole Kindle lending thing was announced as in the works it was mentioned that the publishers were in on the negotiations. Either way if they really wanted to they could have either worked something out or just pulled the Kindle lending part (which people would have complained about, but I’m sure less than cutting things all together).

    ReplyReply

  25. Nadia Lee
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 23:13:15

    If Penguin’s unhappy with Amazon, it could’ve disabled library lending of Kindle ebooks. It’s just an excuse to disable all library e-lending. And I suspect a lot of people in publishing seems to believe that each library lend = lost sale.

    So with the library selection getting slimmer and slimmer (esp. w/ the budget cuts, etc.), maybe people who can’t afford to buy new will just turn to some other form of entertainment. It’s not like people can’t stream movies and TV shows cheaply from Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.

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  26. library addict
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 23:34:01

    Oh I totally think Penguin is behaving badly by pulling their books from Overdrive. Like I said, baby/bath water. I just think on this one point they have a point. The rest is just them burying their heads in the sand like digital books are not here to stay.

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  27. Ann G
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 00:06:40

    While I still love print books, I buy most of my books for the Kindle. I do check out books in print AND in E-book from the library (where available). I’ve tried many new authors from the library, too. I love Penguin’s books, and I’ll miss checking out the e-copies. The Big 6 publshers are EXTREMELY short-sighted. I’m a re-reader, so I’ll eventually buy my own copies of books. E- readers will not go away…the major publishers are just kidding themselves.

    ReplyReply

  28. Mitzi
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 03:07:54

    No more ebook library lending today…What’s next?…Strict limitations on our reading of our ebook purchases? Remember folks, we don’t ‘own’ the ebooks we purchase, we only lease them for a limited amount of time/usage per the publisher!!!

    ReplyReply

  29. Lizabeth S. Tucker
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 07:22:43

    I have determined to send emails to the various publishing companies who have made this ridiculous decision. Penguin’s email address is ecommerce@us.penguinsgroup.com. My email is as follows:

    “I hereby notify you that I will no longer purchase any books from your company, either in physical or ebook form, until you reverse your position regarding providing books for library rentals. I am ashamed of Penguin, a publishing company I have always admired and, as a bookseller in the past, recommended for quality products.

    You fail to understand the important of libraries, both for those without the funds to purchase books as well as those who might wish to try a new author without paying the unreasonably high costs of buying that first book. I have discovered many a new author through libraries and went on to purchase other books by them.

    I shall miss your products, but I cannot in good conscience continue to support a company that makes it impossible for those without the ability to buy books access to those same books.”

    Will this mean anything to them? Probably not, but I cannot continue to simply grumble with like-minded others over these petty and ridiculous decisions.

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  30. Author on Vacation
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 08:08:17

    @Lizabeth S. Tucker:

    Well done. With your permission, may other readers copy your email and send it to Penguin?

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  31. Lizabeth S. Tucker
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 14:26:45

    @Author on Vacation: Most definitely.

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  32. Lynnd
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 15:44:32

    @Nadia Lee: People will look to other forms of entertainment and some are also more likely to just simply pirate the books they want, but can’t afford, just like they pirate movies (and music before iTunes made music affordable and accessible and changed how the music industry works). I just got an announcement from my library that they now have a new service allowing patrons to download a few songs a month to keep – for free. It seems that eventually change does come, and when it does, the publishing dinosaurs will either evolve or they will go extinct. Probably the first thing they need to figure out is that those of us who prefer e-books are not their enemies.

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  33. Joy
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 16:19:36

    “Publishers Lunch goes into more detail about how publishers want to increase the f[r]iction for digital lending including … requiring Kindle users to download lends to their computer and transfer the book to the device via a USB cable.”

    It’s kind of like they’re *begging* users to strip the DRM if they do that.

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  34. MrsJoseph
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 17:05:19

    You know, it doesn’t bother me too much.

    Amazon should not insert themselves in my library activities. If I wanted to buy the book from them I would. I find it horribly insulting as well as an intrusion into my privacy for Amazon to be so crass as to email me about a book I BORROWED from my city’s public library. WTF. I can’t condone that mess and I am much more upset at Amazon than Penguin. Kobo has never once emailed me about any book I’ve ever borrowed from the library.

    I would rather that Penguin had chosen a more balanced approach to this situation…but I could only imagine the screams of “discrimination” or something if Penguin had only pulled kindle books (again).

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  35. DS
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 17:36:21

    People on the Kindle discussion groups on Amazon are reporting being able to download Penguin books to their computers and side load them to their Kindles now. Last time I checked my local library they only had audio books so I cannot personally comment on the experience.

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  36. Lizabeth S. Tucker
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 09:07:22

    @Lizabeth S. Tucker: I’ve received an answer from Penguin.

    “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. Our ongoing partnership with the ALA is more important than ever, and our recent talks with ALA leadership helped bring everything into focus. 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. Because of these discussions, as of February 10, 2012, Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and audiobooks for purchase via Overdrive. Physical editions of Penguin’s new and backlist titles will continue to be available in libraries everywhere.”

    ReplyReply

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