Penguin Random House has announced that it will implement perpetual access for all of its ebook titles and cap prices per title. ALA welcomes improvement in long-term access and pricing, but the new cap of $65 continues a significant premium over consumer ebook and library print titles.
The new structure will phase out the Penguin model of one-year lending and reduce the price for some previous Random House titles with a $65 cap on all Penguin Random House e-titles starting January 1, 2016.
“Libraries will be pleased that the combined Penguin Random House license will ensure perpetual access to e-titles, and all will be glad the previous ceiling of $85 per title has been reduced,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “But I also know many of my colleagues will miss the flexibility of paying near-consumer prices for e-copies they may not wish to maintain indefinitely, and some will be unable to afford to provide access to the ebooks their communities seek.”
Several ALA leaders met this week with Penguin Random House and other major publishers as part of ongoing engagement by the ALA Digital Content Working Group (DCWG). When they were separate companies, Penguin and Random House were among the first to make ebooks available for library lending. ALA leadership discussions on library ebook lending with publishers, distributors, authors, and readers have been ongoing for more than four years.
“I remember those earliest conversations, and I am proud of the progress we’ve made to further our shared goals of connecting authors and readers and promoting a culture of reading and literacy,” Feldman said. “I also know we’re not done. We need to leverage technology to improve access, integration, and user experience. Libraries transform through innovative practices and partnerships—in the digital realm as well as face-to-face with our communities and collaborators.”