Ebook Lending Rights for Independent Authors

Ebook technology has raced ahead of institutional change. People are taking up digital books faster than government and legal systems can keep up. So it's up to publishers and authors to make wise decisions in the rapidly changing environment of selling digital books.

Digital book lending is in its infancy in Australia, which has the potential to disadvantage authors.

With printed books authors are (if they’re lucky) paid royalties based on the publisher’s net receipts from sales. In addition they can claim money from lending rights (PLR and ELR) and Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) if their books are being lent out or their content is being copied/reproduced for educational purposes.

Lending Rights
There are two forms of lending rights that authors can claim and get paid for if their content is being used:

1. Public Lending rights (PLR), which is for council libraries etc.
2. Education Lending Rights (ELR), which is for schools etc.

Ebooks fall under "non book material" along with audio books, DVDs and CDs, and are not eligible for a claim.

Until legislation changes in Australia, authors will not be able to claim ELR and PLR for their ebooks; however, there is still just as much incentive to sell ebooks to libraries as printed books.

Multiple copies
Ebooks sold to libraries, via certain platforms, undermine the age-old necessity for multiple copies of books needing to be purchased, for the purpose of lending out to multiple people (e.g. 10 different members of the public at a time or a group of 50 school students per term). In contrast, on other platforms, a school or library has to purchase the same number of copies (licenses) of an ebook as the number of people they want to be able to borrow it at once.

We distribute desktop-reader-friendly epub files to EBSCO, which in turn sells to libraries all over the world. EBSCO pays on a lending model, details of which are available to our ebook aggregation customers.

There are three other ebook lending platforms worth looking into if you want to delve further into this: Overdrive, Wheelers and EBL.

Even when publishers get payments from these platforms it depends on the author’s contract with the publisher as to whether they will also get paid for these digital uses of their content. There are some ebook distribution systems, or software platforms, being used by big publishers to manage digital book lending and charge subscriptions, fees for seats (users), or site licenses. For example, Pearson makes many of its textbooks as “eTexts” distributed using a VitalSource platform).

If you want your book to become a set text for Australian schools
You will need to approach the relevant academic curriculum boards to have your book considered. If it does become a set text, bear in mind that ebooks are becoming more and more significant in this mix.

Some schools don’t use a platform or provide books and ebooks to students via the library. Instead, they provide a list to parents and ask them to buy the books or ebooks. Parents can, therefore, buy the ebook edition from whichever vendor they like to use.

Using us to aggregate your project via major ebook vendors means that you can sell your ebook to members of the public or schools and EACH user has to buy a copy. Price it right for the education market, and make it easy enough for school librarians and parents to obtain the ebook via common ebook vendors, and market it as such. It’s a new world with ebooks and the methods schools and other groups use to buy them have not been set in stone.

If you are interested in publishing an ebook, please contact us on 07 3345 1415 or via email info@australianebookpublisher.com.au

Useful Links

Copyright Agency Limited : www.copyright.com.au.
Pearson’s eText : http://www.pearson.com.au/why-pearson/technology-learning/ebooks/
Overdrive : https://www.overdrive.com
Wheelers : http://www.wheelersbooks.com.au
EBL : http://www.eblib.com
Vitalsource : http://vitalsource.com/Pages/home.aspx

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