The American Library Association (ALA) has slammed Hachette after the publisher was revealed to be raising the prices it charges libraries for its backlist (i.e. pre-2011) titles. According to InfoDocket, Hachette is putting its prices up by an average of 220%, although libraries have until the end of September to take advantage of the current, lower prices. Edit: It now seems the price rise is a little lower, but still pretty steep.
A Hachette statement, quoted by InfoDocket, argues that the increased price reflects the value of ebook titles to libraries, since ebooks don’t need to be replaced due to wear and tear. Hachette also claims that there is no limit on the ‘borrowing activity’ of each ebook copy. Nevertheless, the ALA has criticised Hachette, although the organisation proposes no real solutions to the problem. Earlier this year, the ALA was similarly critical of a price hike by Random House.
The Digital Shift reports that some libraries are already reconsidering their future purchases now that the price change is coming into effect. With more and more libraries looking to acquire indie and self-published ebooks to offer their customers, it looks like Hachette and the other big publishers are gradually vacating quite a large market.