Wednesday Midday Links: More on digital lending and libraries
The big news in the tech world is that Apple is debuting the iPad 2 today which will be lighter and have better resolution and thus be more attractive to those ebook reading folk. I feel super conflicted about Apple because it is acting like such an asshat about allowing content into its stores. John Gruber, an astute apple apologist (I know, seems like an oxymoron but it is true), says that Apple’s in app policy regarding Amazon and others isn’t feasible. Yesterday, Apple approved a Kobo upgrade so maybe the sky isn’t falling just quite yet.
From the promo files, we have the following:
From 3/1-3/31, Ashley March will be hosting the 1st Annual March Madness Blog Party to celebrate historical romance readers and writers. Throughout the month, a guest historical romance author will be featured each day with a giveaway. Also, a daily feature will spotlight community sites and blogs that support historical romance. In addition to the daily giveaways by guest authors, other book bundles and prizes will be given away, with more than 40 prizes overall. Aspiring historical romance writers will also have a chance to win a partial critique from super-agent Barbara Poelle and a full critique from Ashley March. For full details and schedule, please visit: www.ashleymarch.com/blog.
and from Jeannie Lin, author of the Butterfly Swords, we have romance author trading cards. The image is the card that will be handed out by Moira Rogers.
I think this is pretty cool because in the day of digital books, there really aren’t physical items to connect with. I received an oversized postcard of the awesome Jaci Burton cover “Perfect Play“. She’ll send them to anyone who wants one and I have to say that it is really a magnificent item and not just because of Jed Hill. Part of the appeal is the heavy stock it is printed on. This is a quality piece of promo and one I’ll probably keep. I was thinking that I might actually like to collect these for keepers and put them in a special bound volume or something. Those photobook places will print up bound photographs. Something like that might be neat for readers. What do you guys think? Maybe I will collect a bunch at RT and have them bound for giveaways here at DA? Would you guys like that?
Barnes & Noble settled its lawsuit with Spring Design (who is now out of business). In return for undisclosed consideration, Spring Design is granting BN “a non-exclusive, paid-up royalty free license for the entire portfolio of Spring Design patents and patent applications. The terms of the settlement are otherwise confidential.”
Samhain editor, Anne Scott, blogs about the importance of allowing readers a safe place to talk about books. I don’t know if this is in response to the horrible event that Teddy Pig suffered over at Goodreads or not, but I really appreciate Scott’s statements. To sum up, reviews are for readers. Authors shouldn’t read negative reviews if it is too difficult to handle.
At a HarperCollins site unironically called Library Love Fest, HarperCollins posts an open letter to libraries arguing on behalf of its decision to limit library lends to 26.
Our prior e-book policy for libraries dates back almost 10 years to a time when the number of e-readers was too small to measure. It is projected that the installed base of e-reading devices domestically will reach nearly 40 million this year. We have serious concerns that our previous e-book policy, selling e-books to libraries in perpetuity, if left unchanged, would undermine the emerging e-book eco-system, hurt the growing e-book channel, place additional pressure on physical bookstores, and in the end lead to a decrease in book sales and royalties paid to authors. We are looking to balance the mission and needs of libraries and their patrons with those of authors and booksellers, so that the library channel can thrive alongside the growing e-book retail channel.
HC goes on to say that it sells at a discount to its distributors which really can’t be the case under Agency because, as I understand it, you can’t treat one class preferentially under retail price maintenance.
As is often the case, the comments are the best part of the blog post. One commenter noted that libraries have a finite budget and that when a book is expired, it likely won’t be replaced because libraries can only afford to buy so many books (and they aren’t likely to invest in expiring books). Many of the commenters didn’t appreciate the PR speak of HC when it tried to portray themselves as friends of the library and committed to library access.
What HC is trying to do, is my guess, is create more sales by limiting access to libraries. HC believes, perhaps incorrectly, that by not allowing the library to have access, patrons will then purchase more books independent of the library. Sarah Glassmeyer suggests that if each patron bought one more ebook than they ordinarily do that would, the market loss of libraries would be covered. Which gives rise to the question of whether publishers trying to do away with libraries altogether?
SUMMARY: U.S. Libraries circulate about 2 billion items per year. This means each person that has a library card averages about 13 checkouts a year. Given that the average price of a book is about $20 (low estimate), that means the value of materials circulated by libraries is 45 Billion dollars or $270 to each borrower.
If each borrower changed one checkout to purchase – $3,750,063,240
If each borrower bought one eBook at $6.00 – Publishers would get $1,001,352,000.
Overdrive is moving the entire digital catalog of HarperCollins to a different catalog.
Beginning March 7, we are making changes in the eBook ordering process. HarperCollins eBooks and their catalog of titles will be moved from our general eBook catalog to a separate collection. Until we have time to review the effect of these new terms with our library partners, HarperCollins eBooks will not be listed in our Library Marketplace. You will be able to review and order HarperCollins eBooks from a separated catalog, if you so choose.
Agency is not likely to come soon to the UK or EU. It’s kind of shocking to see that UK and EU have stricter antitrust laws that the US. Way to go FTC. Anyway, this morning, EU readers woke up to the news that the European Commission RAIDED European publisher offices looking for evidence of price fixing.
DG Competition has launched an investigation yesterday and simultaneous raids in several editors of the Union, including all the major French publishers, suspected to agree on the price of digital books through the contract term.