The publisher Hachette announced Wednesday that it will make its full catalog of e-books available to nonprofit libraries like the New York Public Library. The move makes it the last of the so-called "Big Six Publishers" to do so.
Publishers have been dancing around the question of whether and how to sell e-books to libraries for years, according to Mike Norris, a publishing industry analyst with Simba Information.
"On the one hand, they all recognize that libraries are very valuable places for people to learn about books and discover reading. But on the other, they want to create a genuine incentive for people to buy ebooks," he said.
According to Simba Information research, books still lag far behind their print counterparts: 44 percent of American adults bought a paperback or hardcover in 2012, but only 16 percent purchased an ebook.
The following chart shows how the Big Six publishers deal with selling e-books to libraries.
|Publisher||Notable books||Lending policy|
|Random House||A Game of Thrones, The Audacity of Hope, The Shining, Beloved, The DaVinci Code||Random House has always offered e-book titles to libraries. In March 2012, the publisher announced a sharp increase in the prices libraries would have to pay for e-book titles.|
|HarperCollins||Going Rogue, The Alchemist, Game Change, To Kill a Mockingbird, American Gods||HarperCollins has always offered e-book titles to libraries. In February 2011, it announced that new titles licensed from library e-book vendors would be allowed to circulate 26 times before the license expires.|
The Grapes of Wrath, On the Road, The Witness, The Help, The Kite Runner
|Penguin offered titles to libraries through e-book distributor OverDrive until February 2012. In November 2012, it extended a pilot program with two New York librarires to include libraries in Cleveland and Los Angeles. In March 2013, Penguin started offering new e-book titles to libraries without a six-month embargo previously in place. Other lending terms from the pilot are expected to continue, including a one-year expiration date on e-books licensed to libraries and library pricing similar to what is offered to individual consumers.|
|MacMillan||Ender’s Game, Night, Freedom, Middlesex, Another Piece of My Heart, The South Beach Diet||A small selection of Macmillan's e-book titles are available to libraries. It plans to offer over 1,200 backlist e-books from its Minotaur Books mystery and crime fiction imprint. Once purchased by a library, the titles will be available to them to lend for two years or 52 lends.
|Hachette||The Catcher in the Rye, Twilight, The Notebook, I Am America (And So Can You!)||
Starting May 1, 2013, Hachette will offer all of its e-book titles to libraries at the same time as print editions. Only one library patron can have the e-book at any given time, but there is no limit on the number of downloads. The starting price is three times that of the most expensive print edition in print. After one year, the purchase price drops to one and half times the highest-price print edition.
|Simon and Schuster||Steve Jobs, Executive Power, Farewell to Arms, The Lost Years, The White Tiger||
Simon & Schuster started a one-year pilot with New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library on April 30, 2013. A pilot program with the Queens Public Library is scheduled to start sometime in May.