Much has been said about the battle between publishers and libraries. Libraries objected to high prices, especially for e-books, and publishers moaned about decreasing profits. Discussions center around ownership models and digital preservation, but one variable is missing in all of these equations: the author.
Posts Tagged ‘e-publishing and libraries’
The verdict is in—Apple illegally worked behind the scenes with publishers to limit competition in the e-book market. Last month, the US Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling which found Apple conspired with the “Big Five Publishers” (Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster) to fix e-book prices. Apple will need to pay a settlement of $450 million to e-book customers and the class-action law firms representing them.
Zetta Elliott is working with the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School to produce an anthology of middle-grade student writing. Maybe the anthology will be picked up by a mainstream publisher, maybe it won’t. It doesn’t really matter to Elliott. For her, the solution to the lack of diversity in children’s books is simple: Stop begging at the doors of traditional publishers and publish diverse books yourself. It sounds lofty, but thanks to the explosion of digital publishing tools, it’s now possible for just about anyone to publish a professional-looking book—simply and affordably, online or in print.
Libraries, despite some strides toward a reasonable solution, still struggle with the cost of e-books. Regardless of the clear data showing the benefit of libraries lending an author’s work in print, publishers still hesitate to budge on e-book pricing. It’s different, they say. And in some ways they are right. But with issues of preservation, shrinking budgets, and rising costs, libraries have to be extremely careful about what books they stock both in print and in digital form.
As negotiations between Amazon and Hachette continue, the New York Public Library hosted a panel discussion titled “Amazon: Business As Usual?” Questions about e-book pricing, compensation for authors, and publisher-retailer relationships were all discussed. How will this affect the publishing world and public libraries?
The partnership between the Los Gatos (CA) Public Library (LGPL) and Smashwords has spurred a movement within the library and publishing communities. “Forward-looking libraries such as LGPL are expanding from a culture of literacy into a culture that includes authorship,” says Jim Azevedo, the marketing director at Smashwords.  Since 2010, this new partnership has worked to bring libraries and authors together by promoting e-book publishing.