Libraries Dominate eBook Subscription Market

2 comments
Libraries Dominate eBook Subscription Market

Kindle Unlimited, Scribd, and Oyster are all eBook services aping the Netflix style, providing users with unlimited access to eBook libraries for a monthly fee. 

Turns out that while all this was going on, your local librarian hasn't been sitting around, reading romance novels and waiting to tear off her glasses to become a supermodel with very poor vision (or whatever your misguided fantasy about librarians might be).

Even though most subscription eBook services are well-established, and in the case of Kindle Unlimited, backed by the mighty might of Amazon.com, it turns out that the humble local library is still your best bet when it comes to eBook services, according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Let's look at prices.

Kindle Unlimited: $9.99/mo.
Oyster: $9.95/mo.
Scribd: $8.99/mo.
Library eBook services: FREE.

Now, it's a normal expectation that library services be free, however it's not always common that those services are actually superior in terms of selection as well.

After examining various lists, The Wall Street Journal's 20 most recent bestselling eBooks in fiction and non-fiction, Amazon's Bbook bestsellers from the last three years, and even Stephen King's 10 favorite books, the library came out ahead in all three in terms of title availability. Allow me to reiterate. The typical library has more titles from Amazon's list of top eBooks than Kindle Prime, Amazon's own service.

The downside is that library software can be a bit on the dodgy side, and a user seeking an eBook might find himself on a wait list. But if you're looking for the economical choice and don't mind a wait, drop in on your local library.

Image of The World's Strongest Librarian: A Book Lover's Adventures
Author: Josh Hanagarne
Price: $13.12
Publisher: Avery (2014)
Binding: Paperback, 304 pages

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Comments

didldidi's picture
didldidi August 14, 2014 - 9:29am

Something I think people oughta know about the library ebook world is that publishers price their ebooks comically high for libraries. For an ebook that sells for let's say $10, publishers will charge libraries north of $80 for a single license allowing one person at a time to read that book. Imagine how much better libraries could be doing if they were charged anywhere near a fair price.

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman August 18, 2014 - 6:05pm

This is so true. Sadly, although libraries attempt to remain competitive, they are still pretty hemmed in by the market.

A lot of libraries go with services like Overdrive to provide ebooks and apps with which they can be accessed. But the downside, you basically buy a package and don't have a lot of control over which titles are available and what goes on there.

It's a sad state of affairs in some ways, and I hope to see libraries really change their relations with pubilshers and cut out the middle man.