Li­brary boy­cotts Ran­dom House ebooks

The Queens County Advance - - FRONT PAGE - By Nick Moase

The South Shore Public Li­brary is boy­cotting ebooks pub­lished by Ran­dom House, af­ter what they see is an un­fair pric­ing sys­tem.

In the past month, Ran­dom House has dras­ti­cally raised the price of ebooks for sale to Li­braries. For ex­am­ple, a copy of Cather­ine the Great, Por­trait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie was $30 for li­braries in Jan­uary 2012, $130 on March 1 and $85 on March 20. An in­di­vid­ual or­der­ing the same ti­tle would pay $25 through Ama­zon, $22.69 through Kin­dle or $20 through Ran­dom House or Google Books.

“One way staff ful­fills the mis­sion is by pro­vid­ing readers ac­cess to a wide va­ri­ety of for­mats, in­clud­ing the new­est in­no­va­tion down­load­able e-books,” says My­ers. “The sharp price in­crease in­sti­tuted by Ran­dom House will limit the num­ber of ebooks SSPL can pur­chase for our bor­row­ers’ en­joy­ment.”

Ebooks are leant by li­braries sim­i­larly to reg­u­lar books. A dig­i­tal copy of the book is still “checked out” dur­ing the three weeks some­body has to read it. The dif­fer­ence is af­ter the three weeks the book is au­to­mat­i­cally re­moved from the ereader’s cat­a­logue.

The price Ran­dom House has given them is for per dig­i­tal copy they can lend at any given time. For pop­u­lar ti­tles, the li­brary may buy more dig­i­tal copies.

While prices for ebooks at Ran­dom house have fluc­tu­ated wildly over the past few months, My­ers says stan­dard books have re­mained the same. When he tried to find out why the costs changed so much, My­ers says he got a vague re­sponse about chang­ing the over­all busi­ness plan for the com­pany.

My­ers con­tacted Ran­dom House to in­form them of the boy­cott, how­ever has yet to get any re­sponse.

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