Attached is the first price comparison for ebooks (PDF file) of the new year. A few things stand out:
- This was a very good fall for Random House, followed by Penguin. They dominate the New York Times bestseller list.
- Most of the titles are now available, thanks to the pressure applied by ALA presidents.
- The terms of sale—$84 for Random House, buy it again after a year from Penguin—mean that it’s still (in my judgment) not a very smart library decision to buy these books. If it is the goal of public libraries to satisfy demand, it would appear that buying paper is still the smarter solution. First, while some readers may prefer ebooks to print, they don’t eschew print altogether. Second, we can buy more copies of paper. Third, we get to keep paper copies, use them many times, or sell them, and that library ownership is not bound up with the vendor through which we made the purchase. Fourth, the continuing swell of indie and self-published writers deserves some budget attention, and now is the time to form those relationships. And of course, the terms are far more attractive for these new streams of content.
And that’s the way it is for libraries here in the US, at the start of 2014.
See the January 2014 DCL report here: PDF file