HarperCollins’ Ebook Policy: Harper Collins announced a while ago that it is going to limit the number of times one of its ebooks can be checked out from the public libraries – 26 times and then the license expires. The library will have to purchase the ebook again. It appears as though Harper Collins panicked that since ebooks will never tear or become worn out that there will not be any room for further sales. So, it went after the ultimate underdog, public libraries with constantly eroding budgets! HarperCollins’s Twitter response can be a step in the right direction.
Ebook Sales Jump: In interesting related news, Reuters reported that there was a 115% increase in ebook sales in January 2011 compared to a year ago. It is also reported that there has been a drop in the sale of hardcover and paperbacks while higher education books have held steady. Is it any wonder that Harper Collins is trying to make sure that ebooks continue to be a source of revenue? However, their current strategy is not going to help them win any friends.
New York Times Digital Subscription: This week, the New York Times announced a digital subscription plan. The newspaper industry is another one that has been hit by the reality of free digital content. There are lessons for book publishers in the way that NYT has chosen to handle this situation. There is a general understanding that quality products cost money to produce and there has to be revenue to offset the cost. NYT has decided to ask dedicated readers to subscribe to one of three plans. There is still the option to access 20 articles free and online content is free for those who have a NYT subscription. While there has been unhappiness from many who have been reading NYT free online, there are other readers like Lori K of Boston who feel that, “It’s two lunches at McDonalds. For a month of reporting. I’m happy to support the NYT for such a low price.”