Why are large publishers punishing libraries (and readers)?

Douglas County Libraries (in Colorado) periodically releases a document that compares the prices for books sold to the general public versus to libraries. You can read their most recent report here.

And as you’ll see, libraries are paying an insane premium for e-books of certain titles.

In this excerpt below you’ll see that an e-book of Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch is available to individuals for $7.50 but to libraries for $90 — per copy.

Library eBook pricing chart

I get that this title is hugely popular right now and everyone wants to read it.

But this is, plain and simple, price gouging. And it concerns me not just as a publisher but as a reader who supports his local library. In Ashland, our library system is struggling just to stay fully staffed and open. And this level of pricing disparity hurts everyone — libraries and patrons alike. And I would guess that Donna Tartt is no fan of it either.

For the record, Ashland Creek Press does not price its books any different for libraries than for individual readers. We want our books to be read by as many people as possible, and we look at libraries as our partners, not our customers.



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