Sadly, unlike a regular person, a library cannot pay Amazon or Barnes & Noble for an eBook and then lend it out to people. We can buy a printed book from these companies, stick it on the shelf, and lend it out–but digital content is treated differently by the publishers and the companies who manage digital content licensing. We desperately want to offer you these eBooks. But the companies won’t let us. As your library, we commit to continuing advocacy for change in these policies.
For more info and to see who to contact, please see bit.ly/noebooks
An anonymous insider at one of New York’s big six publishers thinks so. According to a letter posted on pandodaily, and headlined a “confession,” the biggest issue is not that Amazon has made publishing margins razor-thin, it’s that Amazon is now attempting to publish the bestsellers that “cover our fixed costs” itself.
If you’ve been to college in the last decade, you’ve probably dealt with “e-reserves”—book chapters and articles made available electronically to students in particular classes, usually through the university library. But how much material can a professor upload before having to pay a licensing fee?
The issue is notoriously murky; many schools require that printed “course packs” be licensed, though uploading those pieces separately to an e-reserves site doesn’t always trigger licensing. Professors we know have resorted to various tricks—if limited to five e-reserves before having to take a license, they will upload five documents, wait until students have read them, then delete the first five and upload five more. It’s not just about the money, which students would have to cover; it’s about the hassle. E-reserve and course pack licensing can require several months of lead time, and not all professors are (*cough*) ready for an entire semester that far in advance.
This makes publishers unhappy, and some have sued.
Melville House (an indy publisher) has withdrawn from future participation in the Best Translated Book Awards citing Amazon’s “predatory and thuggish practices…”
Big news, and worth noting, considering this house publishes more in translation than Knopf or Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.
(via The Millions)