Ebook distribution to libraries took another leap forward on October 17 when Baker & Taylor, OverDrive, 3M, and RBDigital (Recorded Books) told their customers that Macmillan’s entire ebook backlist, 11,000 titles from lead imprints St. Martin’s, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Holt, Macmillan Children’s, and Tor, would now be available to their patrons.
Macmillan on Friday became the last of five major publishers to settle a lawsuit over the pricing of ebooks originally filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and 15 states in April 2012. In an email addressed to “Authors, Illustrators and Agents” Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote that he believed the company had done nothing wrong and could still win the case, but the risk of losing the legal battle had become too high.
Macmillan is working on a pilot project that will test lending of its ebook titles at libraries, the publisher confirmed in a statement to Publisher’s Weekly today. Details of the project remained undisclosed. “We have been working hard to develop an e-book lending model that works for all parties, as we value the libraries and the role they play in the reading community,” MacMillan wrote PW in a prepared statement. “We are currently finalizing the details of our pilot program and will be announcing it when we are ready, and not in reaction to a demand.”
Pending the approval of U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, $69 million will be awarded to consumers who purchased agency-priced ebooks between April 2010 and May 2012, as part of a proposed settlement of a state antitrust suit filed against HarperCollins, Hachette SA, and Simon & Schuster. Led by the Attorneys General of Connecticut and Texas, 49 states (excluding Minnesota) and 5 U.S. territories had accused the publishers of conspiring to fix ebook prices.
DRM will remain an integral part of the library lending workflow for the foreseeable future. What a publisher decides to do with DRM on the retail side does not necessarily correlate to anything they will do with DRM on the library side.
This article has been updated to include information on the state lawsuits and Canadian, publisher statements, and links to the proposed settlement and competitive impact statement, courtesy of Infodocket. The Department of Justice today filed its antitrust suit against Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster over the agency model of ebook pricing. […]
Simon & Schuster, Macmillan Express Concerns About Library Ebook Lending After ‘Positive’ Talks with ALA
Although the American Library Association and major publishers are talking to each other about ebook lending, it seems they are going to cordially disagree for the foreseeable future — even as more librarians offer evidence that some of the publishers’ concerns may not be completely justified and the CEO for OverDrive says he is “bullish for 2012.”
ALA Midwinter 2012: ALA To Meet With Top Executives of Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin on Ebook Lending
Apple Inc. and the Big Six publishers are facing a widening array of investigations and lawsuits that allege they conspired to illegally fix ebook pricing in an effort to undermine Amazon’s competitive edge.