Libraries and Ebooks: How much $$ is too much?

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Registered: 01-20-2004
Libraries and Ebooks: How much $$ is too much?
2
Wed, 10-23-2013 - 2:43pm

I just read an interesting article about the price of ebooks and whether libraries should spend the amount on books with no literary value. Here's the article: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/libraries-and-ebooks-spending-big-on-fifty-shades-of-grey/ — and one of the parts that I find interesting:

"While all of that resonates with me, I think it needs to be balanced with dollars-and-cents sensibility — $23,400?! So people can read a book that I think many would agree has very little value when it comes to promoting literacy, spreading and securing democracy and giving people access to the information they “need.”

“Laters baby” doesn’t strike me as essential.

But that’s the great thing about libraries: They don’t make those judgement calls — nor should they. If it’s in the zeitgeist, it should be in the library.

Except that they do. Go to your local library and say to the librarian there, “what should I read next?” And they’ll tell you. I’d wager few would suggest Fifty Shades before many, many other titles.

So, on the one hand, it’s not for librarians to decide what they offer. On the other, it is for them to suggest what you should read. And buying a lot of copies of something is a way of doing that.

Therefore, I would suggest that it’s a foolish use of funds to buy more than a handful of copies of a very expensive ebook if it doesn’t have extreme value as judged by the librarian to promoting literacy, spreading and securing democracy or providing a community with access to information it “needs” — no matter what the demand."

I do agree that the price is outrageous — why is it so much? Does the paperback version cost just as much? But on the other hand, I'm finding it hard to swallow the author's opinion that just because it's Fifty Shades, it shouldn't be purchased in that quantity. I think the libraries, as the author suggests, should be saying, "Whoa... we're not paying that price." I can buy it for $10. I'm not sure about licensing fees and what it entails, but $78 for an ebook?? No ebook should be that much. The size of ebooks are minute and the profit they are making off that $78 is huge — maybe not as much if people were buying it outright, but still, there is a HUGE HUGE HUGE margin of profit there.

Erin
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Registered: 08-11-2008
Thu, 10-24-2013 - 9:45am

My library is part of a library system. So long as some copies of books, including digital books, are available, it doesn't have to be in my branch.

$23,400 buys a lot of books. It's hard to wrap my head around spending that much for one. I'm not going to read Fifty Shades, but people who want to should be able to. Which wasn't what an entire public library system decided about the books in Florida. They said the books weren't going on their shelves. So, more people buy them. I read several genres of books that others feel have questionable value. Me too, sometimes. So I try not to throw stones.

&23,400?

Julia

Avatar for cmerin
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Registered: 01-20-2004
Fri, 10-25-2013 - 3:33pm

aliciasmom2008 wrote:

My library is part of a library system. So long as some copies of books, including digital books, are available, it doesn't have to be in my branch.

$23,400 buys a lot of books. It's hard to wrap my head around spending that much for one. I'm not going to read Fifty Shades, but people who want to should be able to. Which wasn't what an entire public library system decided about the books in Florida. They said the books weren't going on their shelves. So, more people buy them. I read several genres of books that others feel have questionable value. Me too, sometimes. So I try not to throw stones.

&23,400?

Julia

Yeah, I don't understand how a library can do that. Granted I haven't been to mine yet since we moved here, but still, I pay for it via my taxes. I should then be able to read a book regardless of how the library feels about it.

The price though - that's just insane. I looked at my library system, which spans across the entire county, comprised of 53 townships and as of 2010,
630,380 people. There are about 27 copies (hard copies) of each book of the trilogy. I couldn't see the ebook versions since I don't have a library card to log in, but I would hedge a bet that it's not 300 copies of it if there are only 27 hard copies. I think the librarian wasted a boat load of money — and I'm a fan of the book.

Erin
Community Technical Assistant | Community Moderator
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