After Penguin leaves Overdrive, what exactly are we paying for?

Aside from their lame reason for taking their content out of libraries, this article on Penguin’s decision not to go through Overdrive shocked me in another way:

Yet it is unusual among the “big six” publishers in that it allows e-books to be borrowed through libraries at all. Macmillan and Simon & Schuster do not distribute any e-books (new or old) to libraries. Hachette Book Group does not allow new titles to be lent as e-books, and HarperCollins allows new e-books to be borrowed only 26 times before the library has to buy a new copy. This leaves Random House as the only big six publisher currently allowing unfettered access to its e-books through libraries.

Last night I was poking around TRL’s downloads for a new ebook to read and came up short. I ended up going over to Smashword and then Feedbooks and found something in their free downloads to read. I thought at the time our selection seemed thin, but didn’t put too much to it. But, knowing that three of the six large publishers don’t allow us to stock their content at all makes it very clear why it seemed that way.

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