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Industry News: Amazon Library Reachs 100K Titles, Random House Increases Prices to Libraries

March 3, 2012

Amazon’s Lending Library Reaches 100,000 Titles, Touts Indie Writers

Amazon’s Lending Library programs has reached the 100,000 book milestone. The library, known as KDP Select, allows writers to self-publish their titles and offer them to exclusively to Kindle readers for 90 days (the term self-renews unless you opt out). According to Amazon, authors that have joined KDP Select have earned more than $1.8 million since the program debuted in November, with one author, Patricia Hester, making more than $36,000. Hester’s book, Whispers from the Ashes, took off in the program after she marketed it for a year in book clubs, newspapers, and genealogical magazines. The program, which requires enrollment in the Amazon Prime program at $79 a year, allows readers to check out one book at a time with no due date. Each author or publisher is paid based on their share of the total number of ebooks loaned.

Random House Raises e-Book Prices for Libraries

A few weeks ago, when Penguin backed out of its deal with Overdrive, it said the problem was with Overdrive and not with the libraries Overdrive distributes to. That may or may not be so, but Random House has made it a little harder to believe. RH has announced it will raise prices on the ebooks it sells to libraries–some by as many as 300%. According to TechCrunch, the lowest price for a Random House e-book will be $25. Some titles will cost more than $100. The American Library Association is, understandably, livid. ALA President Molly Raphael said, “In a time of extreme financial constraint, a major price increase effectively curtails access for many libraries, and especially our communities that are hardest hit economically.”  The economic impact puts libraries in a difficult position. In ten years, readers will be looking primarily for electronic books and libraries will be in a difficult situation if they can’t satisfy the market. It’s possible curtailing access is the point, requiring library patrons to borrow hardcopy books and slow the adoption of e-books.

Tulsa Educational Publisher Drops “Predator” Amazon

Tulsa-based Education Development Corp, which produces about 1,500 children’s and educational titles each year has cut its ties with Amazon and distributors that sell through Amazon, citing price pressures. CEO Randall White said the move comes after Amazon’s prices for EDC books were cheaper than EDC’s. White also says that after removing one of its lines from Amazon, sales increased 33%. EDC is not covered by the agency pricing model in which Amazon and other book sellers act as agents for the publisher and collect a percentage of the publisher’s set price.

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