How Much Do Libraries Pay For eBooks? [Dig Out]

A library is a public place where bookworms spend their time reading best-selling titles of their favorite authors. Due to shifting from physical reading to e-reading, all libraries around the globe allow library membership holders to read eBooks. Significant relief for book enthusiasts!

Unfortunately, eBooks are not free even for libraries; the authorities must pay a hefty price to purchase eBooks from world-renowned publishers. Libraries are supposed to pay up to four times the retail price (for only one user: only one reader can access it at a time). Mainly the big five publishers set the price and restrictions on libraries about how they can borrow eBooks.

The details about these publishers are mentioned below in this blog post. Read thoroughly to clear your concept!

Why Are Publishers Hesitate To Sell eBooks To Libraries?

How Much Do Libraries Pay For eBooks

Due to increased demand for eBooks from library users, almost all the world’s top publishers sell their eBooks to libraries. Selling books to top libraries can be challenging for publishers as they have many concerns about bookselling; if, in any case, booksellers allow access to the books digitally, they may lose the money they have to earn. Individual publishers derive their own selling rules and policies for libraries regarding e-content, and since 2006 they have been making minor changes in regulations every year.

The top 5 publishers have adopted the “metered access model throughout the years, meaning that titles are only valid for certain uses or months. After validation, the library needs to repurchase the access to continue serving library readers. Undoubtedly, it costs a lot of money to satisfy the library users and the books they want to download or read.

Strategies Of Big Publishers Selling eBooks To Libraries: Way Of Setting Price

How Much Do Libraries Pay For eBooks

The leading publishers of this world – due to their popularity and major release – set specific rules, regulations, and prices for their eBooks for public libraries.

Let’s look at some of them for further understanding!

Baker & Taylor

Baker & Taylor publishing services have a vast collection of books and eBooks to satisfy the readers, but it is challenging to know how much they charge libraries for different titles. A good e-reader who knows the worth of any good book is ready to pay any price, even if the publisher presents them with the old edition of the book.

Hachette Book Group

The Hachette Book Group (HBG), one of the top general-interest book publishers in the United States, comprises numerous prestigious imprints. They additionally provide other publishing organizations with specialized sales, fulfilment, and distribution services. Their books and authors have won numerous prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, Booker Prize, National Book Award, Caldecott Medal, and Newbery Medal.

The Hachette published a printed version and eBook of printed books at a time that libraries could buy from them and use under one copy/one-user rule. The initial cost to libraries is three times that of a standard physical book. The purchasing price will decrease to 1.5 times the primary book price a year after publication.

Harper Collins

Harper Collins has been present in the field of publishing for 200 years, and it is the second-largest book publisher in the world. HarperCollins UK publishes 1500 books a year for all readers. In 2011, this famous publisher executed a 26-loan system, which means that after an eBook has been borrowed 26 times, libraries must repurchase it. Libraries are not paying more than they would with Hachette because the eBook price is the same as that of the hardcover print edition.


Macmillan is an international publishing company with roots in 70 countries; its significant subsidiaries are in the UK, USA, India, South Africa, and Australia. It is basically a Holtzbrinck Publishing Group division, a sizable family-owned media company with its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Macmillan eBooks are available to libraries for two years or 52 checkouts under the one-copy/one-user borrowing model. The library must pay a maximum of $25 for each title.

Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House publishes one-fourth of all books published worldwide. They annually release 70,000 digital titles and 15,000 print volumes, with more than 100,000 eBooks available in all countries. Due to their perpetual license, libraries are bound to purchase a digital book only once, which will stay with the library forever. Only one client may check out an eBook at a time, and the average eBook costs $20 for backlist titles and goes up to $65 per title.

Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster UK has its headquarters in London, with subsidiary businesses in the United States, Canada, Australia, and India. S & S devised different conditions for backlist and frontline eBook titles. Same as others, it also uses one copy and one user formula, and its frontline title expires after 12 months, after which you need to repurchase it. They allow borrowing the book unlimited times during this period. The best-selling and popular titles are available for 20$ to 30$, and romantic books cost even less.

Our Summary

Conclusively, e-Books are not available to readers free of cost. Instead, libraries need to purchase eBooks from giant world publishers as they set the prices and conditions for borrowing. The “self-destruct timer” (different for every book) precludes the library from lending out the eBooks for a set length of time, and the Big Five publishers in the industry have restricted the number of times a library can loan out an eBook (often 26 or 52 rentals).

After any title expires, the libraries decide to renew the membership or remove it from the list. These membership restrictions burden libraries, but they pay a hefty amount for their public, members, and students’ comfort.

Hassan Shahzad

I am Hassan! (Book Lover) at Books Rookie; we (like-minded book readers) share our knowledge of books/digital books with our readers.

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