For a number of years, I have been frustrated by book publishers for whom digital eBooks are a protected species: more expensive than the physical equivalent and not to be sold by anyone other than their existing distributors.
A few years ago, I created a database with hundreds of thousands of published eBook titles with the ambition of being able to offer the eBook to our library clients and institutions as part of a seamless solution.
An Unwilling Publishing Industry
We found that no publisher was willing to allow books in electronic format to be sold to libraries other than through their existing distribution channels. The only sales that could be made were to an individual at a higher cost than the physical text. Even getting that agreement took the best part of two years. So, my database of 800,000 plus eBook titles languished on the virtual shelf.
Every week we get pretty much the same inquiry. This week from a consultant in South America seeking to distribute eBooks to students. We find ourselves having to explain that they would need to seek the permission from publishers.
We have the technology to control the digital rights of such materials; who can print, share, read and over what period. All of this amazing functionality is part of SoutronSDS, but without winning over the publishers. it is all for nought.
Digital First eBooks
This week I hear that Pearson, an education publisher will release all of it’s titles to the United States college market in digital form first. This is a marked change from the expensive textbook publishing model.
Why the change of heart? This British company found that the student market in the US were boycotting new titles and instead bought second-hand books.
Power to the people, right on!