E-book battle: Libraries, publishers square off on pricing


But publishers worry that libraries might disrupt sales on new releases, just as publishers are trying desperately to adjust and stay profitable while protecting e-books from piracy.

“Some publishers are not seeing a lot of results in sales of e-books to make up for their huge investments” in digital publishing, says Sue Polanka, head of reference and instruction for Wright State University libraries and editor of “No Shelf Required: E-Books in Libraries.” “They are very nervous and uncertain about what the future might bring, and so they’re being very cautious.”

Libraries’ acquisitions accounted for 4.8 percent of all book sales in 2009, based on the latest available figures from the Book Industry Study Group and the ALA. E-book receipts grew from less than 4 percent of all book sales in 2009 to nearly 6 percent in 2010.

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