November 18, 2014

How Some Public Libraries Around New Hampshire are Dealing with the Costs of E-Books

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From The Keene Sentinel:

The N.H. Downloadable Books Consortium’s new formula, which was recently approved by a majority of the librarians in the group, changes the fee from one based on population to one based on both population and usage levels.

The downloadable books consortium was started in 2006 and provides users of the 190 member libraries with an online portal called Overdrive to access 20,000 volumes with 6,208 audio book titles and 5,683 e-book titles.

The new fee won’t be instituted until 2014. A third of libraries will probably see their fees go up, a third will see them go down and the remaining third will likely stay the same, State Librarian Michael C. York said.

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The Keene Public Library will see increased fees. For 2012, the Keene library paid $2,500 for the service. The estimated fee for 2014 is $4,261, Keene’s audio-visual librarian Sheila H. Williams said.

While the amount owed is estimated to jump about 70 percent, the fee is still small relative to Keene’s $141,550 total book purchasing budget.

For smaller libraries, though, even a small increase could be significant in their book budget. Depending on the library’s usage, the fee could be anywhere from 20 cents per download to more than $2 per download, so libraries will have to decide if the cost is worth it, said Williams, who served on the steering committee that researched the fee change.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.