What’s “Selling” at the Library: February 2013 Ebook Report from DCL
Jamie LaRue writes: Over the months, the DCL Report has examined various bestseller lists. We’ve sampled the New York Times, Amazon, USA Today, and others. This month we do something new: Look at our library system’s “bestsellers”—that is, the titles that were the most borrowed by patrons of Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries in the month of January 2013. I’m intrigued by the idea of a local library “bestseller list.” It would be also be interesting, and perhaps useful, to compare library lending lists regionally or to aggregate them nationally.
This month, several things are clear. First, of DCL’s top 20, only five are available for purchase as ebooks. So 75% of these titles are not available in the ebook format. Second, for 17 out of 20 titles, the library price for print is better than what consumers pay. Third, for all 20 titles, the library price for ebooks is much higher than the consumer price—almost twice the price at best, six and a half times greater at worst. Finally, the ebook price to consumers for a given title continues to be less than the print price for that work.
In 2012, the volume of sales for books (in all formats) declined while the margin of profit increased. In the short term, that may mean some bump in profitability for the Big Six. But one can’t help wondering if the decline in total sales could be the direct result of less exposure of the ebook format to potential ebook buyers through libraries?
Christopher Harris writes: What is clear to me from this month’s report has less to do with ebooks and more to do with pricing generally.
One of the concerns about ebooks that libraries often bring up is the lack of the typical library discount found in print sales. Looking at the DCL bestsellers this month, it seems that the typical print discount may be eroding as well. The largest discount on the list is less than $3, and in six cases the library pricing was higher than consumer pricing.
Forget the digital challenges; what does it mean for the future of library purchasing and lending of print books if traditional discounts are removed?
|DCL Pricing Comparison 2-1-13.pdf||212.15 KB|