Europeans love their bookstores, and European legislators help to keep it that way with laws across several countries that equalize the cost of print and digital editions. While one result of such legal price-fixing is that physical bookstores will survive, continental consumers understandably will complain that the arrangement keeps prices for e-books too high. The system drives many readers to search out pirated editions online – causing publishers pain and cutting into their profits. As Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, learned recently in Barcelona, the publishers’ saviors may be librarians.
“In Europe, the e-book market is far behind that in the U.S., and publishers are intensely concerned that readers will become used to reading pirated editions on their inexpensive Android tablets,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “The situation has enabled the libraries to go to publishers and say, ‘Look, we are the solution to your piracy worries. People who want to read for free can read through us: You get paid, and we bring these readers into the market.’ That tack appears to be gaining some traction.”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.