Saturday, March 10, 2012
The American Library Association is urging Random House Inc. to reconsider increasing the price of e-books for library wholesalers.
Random House, the country's largest trade publisher, has informed libraries that wholesale charges for e-books would rise by more than 20 percent for new adult releases and more than double for new children's books. Random House noted that e-books can be "repeatedly circulated without limitation," unlike paper books, which eventually become worn or damaged. It also asked that libraries provide more information about patrons' "borrowing patterns."
"Currently absent such information in quantity, it is important to reiterate that our guiding principles in setting these new e-prices are the unrestricted and perpetual availability of our complete frontlist and backlist of Random House, Inc. titles under a model of one-copy, one user," according to a statement issued Friday by Random House.
In related news, the Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter.
Several of the parties have held talks to settle the antitrust case and head off a potentially damaging court battle, these people said. If successful, such a settlement could have wide-ranging repercussions for the industry, potentially leading to cheaper e-books for consumers. However, not every publisher is in settlement discussions.
The five publishers facing a potential suit are CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster Inc.; Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group; Pearson PLC's Penguin Group (USA); Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH; and HarperCollins Publishers Inc., a unit of News Corp., which also owns The Wall Street Journal.
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