May 28, 2022

Salt Lake City Library Pays More for e-Books Than for Print

From The Deseret News:

E-books are purchased through OverDrive Inc., an e-content provider to more than 11,000 libraries. The Salt Lake Library pays $12,000 a year for the OverDrive online checkout service, then pays a fee per title to rent out books to patrons.


The library has to buy multiple copies because each is checked out online one-by-one. For example, if the library wants to purchase five titles of John Grisham’s “The Litigators,” then it would have to pay $184.95 at $36.99 per book.

Print copies of the same book cost $28.95.

Experts in e-content acquisition say if this model doesn’t change, libraries will be in trouble.

Michael Porter, a former librarian, said that the high prices for e-content are interfering with the mission of library systems. He now works with Library Renewal, a nonprofit group working to create an infrastructure for e-content acquisition that bridges the gap between publishers and libraries.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.