From The Deseret News:

E-books are purchased through OverDrive Inc., an e-content provider to more than 11,000 libraries. The Salt Lake Library pays $12,000 a year for the OverDrive online checkout service, then pays a fee per title to rent out books to patrons.


The library has to buy multiple copies because each is checked out online one-by-one. For example, if the library wants to purchase five titles of John Grisham’s “The Litigators,” then it would have to pay $184.95 at $36.99 per book.

Print copies of the same book cost $28.95.

Experts in e-content acquisition say if this model doesn’t change, libraries will be in trouble. Michael Porter, a former librarian, said that the high prices for e-content are interfering with the mission of library systems”

(Via INFOdocket)


  1. Demonstrating why civil servants and government employees should never ever be put in charge of public money, except in exceptional circumstances.

    “Experts in e-content acquisition say if this model doesn’t change, libraries will be in trouble.” Huh ? … it is not the ‘model’ that is to blame … It is the Salt Lake Library people who agreed to pay excessive public money !

  2. no, I think it’s the publishers who are forcing up the price of ebooks. Penguin and all its imprints have already removed all their mobi books from Overdrive, and I believe Simon and Schuster won’t sell ebooks to libraries at all.

  3. Never forget that corporations are amoral entities that exist only in order to generate maximum profits for shareholders. Publishers would be happy to kill off public libraries, forcing each reader to buy his own books or do without. The transition from physical to digital books provides the perfect opportunity.

    Our legislators get vastly more campaign contributions from big media corporations than they do from poor library users. So they spend their time tightening copyright and adding ever harsher criminal penalties for those who break DRM for any reason. But don’t expect the needs of libraries to register on the radar of congress any time soon, or ever.

  4. And this doesn’t address the fact that libraries don’t pay far less than sticker price for tree books. Initial cost of an OverDrive eBook is high, but there aren’t the maintenance costs of processing, storing and circulation. Most OverDrive eBooks are good for unlimited circulations. Authors and publishers are taking that into consideration in pricing their ebooks to libraries.

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