In the past month, Random House has drastically raised the price of ebooks for sale to Libraries. For example, a copy of Catherine the Great, Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie was $30 for libraries in January 2012, $130 on March 1 and $85 on March 20. An individual ordering the same title would pay $25 through Amazon, $22.69 through Kindle or $20 through Random House or Google Books.
South Shore Public Libraries Chief Librarian Troy Myers said the Library will stop purchasing ebooks published by Random House Publishing, in protest.
"One way staff fulfills the mission is by providing readers access to a wide variety of formats, including the newest innovation downloadable e-books," says Myers. "The sharp price increase instituted by Random House will limit the number of ebooks SSPL can purchase for our borrowers' enjoyment."
South Shore Public Libraries card holders currently have access to have access to over 4,000 titles through Nova Scotia Public Libraries Digital Media Downloads site (digitalmedia.library.ns.ca).
"It would be great if we could just purchase ebooks through Amazon or Random House for the lower price," says Myers. "However because we provide the books for loan, we must purchase copies of the books through a service like OverDrive, instead of purchasing copies directly."
SSPL, and other public libraries in Nova Scotia purchase ebooks through OverDrive, a digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, and other digital content. OverDrive sells ebooks to publishers, schools, libraries and retailers and has access to books from more than 1,000 publishers, including Random House, HarperCollins and Bloomsbury
Over 15,000 libraries, schools, and colleges worldwide buy ebooks through Overdrive.
"SSPL works hard to spend our budget wisely, offering the greatest choice possible to readers," says Myers.
"The demand for ebooks is high. We will continue to provide ebooks to our borrowers as quickly as possible but will not purchase from Random House until they lower their prices for ebooks."