October 1, 2016

Consortium of 25 Libraries in Connecticut Votes to Boycott Random House


Libraries Online Incorporated (LION), a consortium of twenty-five Connecticut public, academic, and school libraries, has imposed a moratorium on the purchase of ebooks from Random House.  The action, which was unanimously approved by LION members on March 20, is in response to the March 1 price hike put in place by Random House that doubled and sometimes tripled the price of ebooks for libraries.

Under Random House’s new pricing policy, an ebook that would have cost the LION consortium $35 to purchase through OverDrive on February 29 cost them $105 on March 1, according to Richard Conroy, the president of LION.

“A private individual can purchase the ebook edition of that same book through Amazon for $17.99, which LION consortium members felt made Random House’s decision to raise prices for libraries both discriminatory and totally arbitrary,” Conroy said in a statement emailed to LJ.

Conroy has written a letter to Random House informing the company of the decision.

“The LION consortium feels strongly that it is important for libraries to take a stand against this unfair practice and its disproportionate impact on library users,” Conroy said.

The action is similar to the boycott launched earlier this week by the South Shore Public Libraries in Nova Scotia.

“I don’t want to pick a fight with them, but their pricing’s unfair and I think they need to change it,” Troy Myers, the chief librarian, told the Herald News.

Random House could not be reached for comment but Stuart Applebaum, a company spokesperson, has previously said that “Understandably, every library will have its own perspective on this topic, and we are prepared to listen, learn, and adapt as appropriate.”

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Michael Kelley About Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley is the former Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal.