Ebooks appear to be devastating the manner in which traditional publishing houses distribute books and make profits. Publishers are unclear as to the price of eBooks, how they are to be distributed and marketed and, most importantly, where.
MacMillan and Simon & Shuster have declared to the Digital Public Library of America that they will not sell eBooks to public Libraries and Harper Collins has announced that they will put restrictions on distribution. It’s suggested that after 25 `lends’ the book will be unreadable until more rights are purchased by the Library. It certainly makes one wonder how many hundreds of times some books are read by library users, all from the purchase of a single copy by the library. One can sense that traditional publishers are scared that they will lose millions in the same way that the music industry did as their record (?) sales shrank, but to deny sales to a host of readers (figures suggest that 25% of eBooks won’t be available to library users) is extremely shortsighted. Author’s don’t appear to have much say in this matter, although some have been very public in ignoring traditional publishers and are selling and distributing eBooks because their interest is in getting the greatest number of readers, not in maximizing profit.