Reston Spring

Reston Spring
Reston Spring

Friday, February 28, 2014

The e-book ripoff: ebooks: Man, Are We Being Had, Daily Kos, February 26, 2014

The Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) administration has envisioned in its Board-approved strategic plan the large-scale conversion of the county's libraries to the use of e-books largely on the argument that they will improve "planned organizational efficiencies" (a county euphemism for budget cuts), that is, reduce costs.  As this blog post by Susan from 29 on the Daily Kos points out, they are hugely costly.  Moreover, the license one buys allows only a limited number of reads--more than one person might need, but probably far less than a public library system as large as Fairfax County would need. So, yes, the County would probably need to license popular books over and over again.  So much for "organizational efficiencies."

Here is how Susan's blog begins:
First, the terms of service for ebooks make it clear that regardless of price, we don't own the ebooks we purchase. Instead, we own a "license" to read them.
Second, five publishers conspired with Apple to create and maintain an artificially high price for ebooks. Apple has once again appealed the decision of US District Court Judge Denise Cote.
And finally, according to the New Republic, publishers only make a 41% profit on a hardback book. On an ebook, their profit soars to 75%. And the lower prices of ebooks (lower than hardback) do not result in a hardship for publishers. A $27.99 hardback book produces $5.67 in profit. The same book offered in digital format sells for $14.99 and yields a profit of $7.87.
I have problems with this. Not least is the fact that $14.99 is an outrageous price to pay for a license to read a book. But also, why is the publisher making a 75% profit instead of the writer? . . .
Click here to read the rest of this blog post.   And click on the links in her article to get an even better understanding of the e-book ripoff. 

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