If you have a Kindle, Nook or other e-reader and want access to more e-books from your local Library, you’re not alone. The Pierce County Library System gets requests from users on a daily basis asking that more e-books become available. But the library is facing publishers who are selling them sometimes 300 percent higher than list prices or with heavy usage restrictions. The Pierce County Library System is now asking its users to start putting pressure on publishers, urging them to sell to libraries.
“I am confused and frustrated by publishers’ unwillingness to allow us to participate in the e-book marketplace,” said Neel Parikh, executive director, for the Library System. “Publishers have given no clear reason about their blackballing libraries and the public, and taking on the role of a modern-day Scrooge.”
Retailers are projecting Kindles and other e-readers again will be top sellers this holiday season. Last year, after the holidays, people rushed to the libraries to learn how to use their new technology gifts and start downloading e-books for free from Pierce County Library.
According to the Pierce County Library System, publishers have drawn an arbitrary line and are turning their back on the 122,000 libraries and approximately 169 million public library customers. They are either not selling e-books to libraries or selling them at costs 100-300 percent higher than list prices or with heavy usage restrictions.
Currently, only two of the six major publishers, HarperCollins Publishers and Random House, Inc., are selling to libraries at exorbitant prices or strict restrictions. For example, “Fifty Shades of Grey” costs Pierce County Library $47.85 and sells on Amazon.com for $9.99.
Pierce County Library offers e-books, however because of the publishers’ blockade to libraries it is not allowed to offer what is available on the open market. As a result, the Library System is reducing its e-book budget by nearly 50 percent in 2013. The Library System sparingly purchases the over-priced e-books in its commitment to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.
“It’s quite rare that in a free market a customer—in this case libraries and the American public—is refused the ability to buy a company’s product and is told its money is no good.” said Parikh.
Every day people ask staff why the Library doesn’t offer very many best-seller e-books and why it provides so few e-books. In response the Library is now asking people to take this question directly to the publishers.
It is asking residents to send an email or postcard to publishers and urge them to sell to libraries. People can get a sample email from the Library’s website at www.piercecountylibrary.org or postcards at any Pierce County Library.