Librarians often complain about the lack of availability of ebooks and their cost when they are available. Outside of knowledge of which publishers sell ebooks to libraries and news stories about their cost, it’s not directly known what a librarian faces day-to-day in terms of trying to get ebook access for her patrons.
The Douglas County Libraries have put out a report showing the cost and availability of the most popular print books for patrons and next to it the same for the ebook editions. The differences are stark.
For the top 15 fiction titles, libraries typically pay a few cents less per copy than consumers do for the print edition. The same is true for the top five nonfiction titles.
When it comes to ebooks, the story is very different. Four of the top 15 fiction titles are available to libraries:
— The Racketeer (John Grisham, Random House): $12.99 for consumers, $85.00 for libraries
— Notorious Nineteen (Janet Evanovich, Random House): $13.99 for consumers, $84.00 for libraries
— A Wanted Man (Lee Child, Random House): $13.00 for consumers, $84.00 for libraries
— Flight Behavior (Barbara Kingsolver, HarperCollins): $12.99 for consumers, $25.95 for libraries
For nonfiction, only one of the five most popular titles is available as an ebook: Wild (Cheryl Strayed, Random House), which is $12.99 for consumers and $25.95 for libraries.
See the full document here.