The “Big Five” publishers put limitations on sales of eBooks to libraries and often increase the prices to libraries and consortia. Here’s what the market looks like right now:
- Hachette: The initial purchase price for an eBook is three times the hardcover price. They also do not make their full range of eBooks available to consortia like MARINet.
- HarperCollins: Limits eBooks to 26 checkouts. Libraries then have to repurchase content for continued access.
- MacMillan: Library eBooks can circulate for one year or 52 check-outs; whichever comes first. Additionally, they have only recently begun selling eBooks to library consortia such as MARINet.
- Penguin Random House: Increased its pricing on many Random House titles by 300%. Penguin titles much be repurchased on an annual basis.
- Simon and Schuster: Is making their entire catalog available, but requires libraries to repurchase content on an annual basis.
Patrons can purchase bestselling titles, such as Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time, for as little as $10.99. A library edition of the same eBook is currently for sale for $84.00. That kind of price mark-up is standard in the library eBook market at this time.
For more information, the American Library Association provides regular updates: http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/frequently-asked-questions-e-books-us-libraries