Starting Oct. 1, Hachette will be raising the prices it charges OverDrive library customers for e-books by an average of 220%, according to an email from OverDrive to its customers obtained by Library Journal’s InfoDOCKET.
Libraries buying e-books will have to lock in their orders by the end of Sept. to be able to buy e-books at their current prices.
Hachette is one of two major publishers currently experimenting with making it’s front-list e-books available to libraries in a pilot program. The other is Penguin. Macmillan and Simon & Schuster currently do not make their e-books available to libraries. HarperCollins and Random House do, but the former allows libraries to loan out its e-books 26 times before buying another copy and the latter raised the prices it charges libraries for e-books precipitously in March.
When Random House raised its prices, the American Library Association put out a call for the publisher to roll back the increase. Random House did not do so. The ALA has not yet responded to request for comment.
UPDATE: Hachette has made the following statement in regard to this issue:
As part of an experimental pilot to find out more about the digital library marketplace, we revised ebook prices earlier this year. HBG notified all our public library distributors (including OverDrive) that we would be selling ebooks to them under new terms. We believe these terms fairly reflect the value to the library customer, that the ebooks will not need periodic replacement as do print copies, and there is no limit on amount of borrowing activity per ebook copy. Our new pricing was sent electronically to accounts as part of our regular data feed (ONIX). Due to an internal systems issue at Overdrive, for the limited number of backlist titles they carry, they failed to ingest the proper data until recently
We are working with libraries, Overdrive, and several other partners to gather information and explore various options for making HBGs ebooks available to readers in a rapidly changing digital world.