Joe Konrath and Blake Crouch are going to sell their entire ebook catalogues to the Harris County Public Library. These are their terms:
1. Ebooks are $3.99Joe and Blake said they'd extend these terms to any library.
2. No DRM.
3. The library only needs to buy one ebook of a title, and then they can make as many copies as they need for all of their patrons and all of their branches.
4. The library owns the rights to use that ebook forever.
5. The library can use it an any format they need; mobi, epub, pdf, lit, etc. And when new formats arise, they're’re free to convert it to the new format.
In short, the library buys one copy, and never has to buy it again.
That's a petty good deal! I don't know much about this area but I believe that the usual practice with ebooks is only a certain number of copies can be loaned out at a time and each book can only be loaned out a certain number of times before the library has to renew the license.
Here's how the librarians at the Harris County Public Library put it:
AccessibilityI would urge everyone even the least interested in how libraries have changed over the years and the pressures they are under to read the entirety of Joe's post. I've only excerpted from the letter the librarians at the Harris County Public Library sent Joe and it's well worth reading in it's entirety: Ebooks For Libraries
Libraries are not able to purchase all of the eBooks we would like to purchase due to publisher and author concerns about copyright protection in the digital format. Only two of the big six publishers will sell eBooks to libraries, and those pricing models either limit us to a low number of checkouts or charge us more than twice the retail price for a book. Very few picture books are available for us to purchase, even though small children are a large part of our customer base and we often use digital books in storytimes. With adult fiction titles, we can’t always offer complete series because of format availability or publisher restrictions. Some publishers would even like to implement a plan that would force people to come to the library to check out eBooks, rather than being able to do it online, which kind of defeats the purpose. Librarians are also making the adjustment to focus on providing access for our customers through leasing or subscription, rather than only owning items to be a permanent part of a collection.
Better Public Experience
Because of the way we have to purchase electronic content, our customers often have to jump back and forth online through multiple access points, instead of simply finding a book and clicking to check it out. This can make the borrowing experience quite confusing and complex. Then add the confusion about which formats match which devices. We’re not just providing materials for one type of device, our customers use Kindles and Nooks and iPads and cell phones and devices we probably haven’t heard of yet. We are constantly learning about all of these devices because we are now free tech support for the public. Our customers show up with their new eReader in a box, and we teach them how to use it.
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Photo credit: Friar Balsam