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E-Reading Rainbow: Hachette to bring entire e-book catalog to public libraries

Joseph Volpe, @jrvolpe
May 1, 2013
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If you're still balking at the cost of download-to-own e-books, and would rather stick to the tried-and-true library lending system, then this Hachette news is for you. Come next Wednesday, the entirety of Hachette's ebook catalog -- over 5,000 titles -- will be made available to nonprofit libraries throughout the US. The announcement and finalized pricing model follows two years worth of pilot testing, during which the publisher examined ebook consumption and lending habits at select libraries. Under the currently set terms of sale, e-books that bow in tandem with print editions will run three times the price of their physical counterparts for "single-user-at-a-time circulations, " with prices falling to just one and a half that of the hard copy one year later. By Hachette's own admission, this pricing scheme is not entirely set in stone -- the company plans to continually reevaluate the model on a per-year basis. So, there's hope yet the publisher will gouge libraries a bit less for the perks of e-borrowing.

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HACHETTE BOOK GROUP TO OFFER FULL EBOOK CATALOG TO LIBRARIES: MORE THAN 5,000 TITLES, INCLUDING NEW RELEASES

(May 1, 2013) – Hachette Book Group announced today that, beginning May 8, it will make its full ebook catalog, including new releases, available to nonprofit public and school libraries across the nation.

Following years of experimentation, pilot testing, and discussions with domain experts at the American Library Association, many of their constituent libraries, and the New York Public Library, Hachette Book Group has established new terms of sale for ebooks to libraries. New ebooks will be released simultaneously with the print edition and sold for an unlimited number of single-user-at-a-time circulations at an initial price three times the primary physical book price. One year after publication, the purchase price will drop to one and a half times the primary book price. The primary book price will be defined as the highest-price edition then in print.

This new library offering greatly expands digital access for library patrons and follows two years of extensive pilot programs through which Hachette Book Group offered a large selection of its ebooks to selected libraries and assessed ebook usage and borrowing behaviors. "I grew up in public libraries and appreciate deeply their importance to readers hungry for more," said Michael Pietsch, HBG CEO. "Hachette Book Group believes strongly in supporting the availability of books in all formats to library users, in ways that recognize the importance and value of authors' works. Our goal is to have authors' work available on as many bookshelves and platforms as possible, and we're looking forward to working with public libraries to serve their communities of readers as their reading habits evolve."

Hachette Book Group will review its library pricing model annually, as it does with all accounts, and will continue ongoing discussions with stakeholders such as the American Library Association to ensure that we are working together to achieve the broadest possible access to authors' work in a manner that will benefit readers, libraries, and authors.

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