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Penguin Group E-Books Cut From Libraries, Amazon Online Lending Program

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Penguin’s hard-copy books are still available in libraries around the world. (Photo: Stock.xchng)
Penguin’s hard-copy books are still available in libraries around the world. (Photo: Stock.xchng)

BUSINESS

  • Penguin temporarily bans new e-books to libraries and Kindle users
  • Non-specific “security concerns” cited as reason for suspension
  • OverDrive instructed to block new Penguin e-Book titles, disable Kindle functionality for all Penguin e-Books

Penguin Group (USA), one of the nation’s largest publishers, is temporarily banning the availability of its new e-books to libraries and Amazon’s online lending program as well as prohibiting libraries from loaning existing Penguin e-books on their shelves to Kindle owners.

In a statement issued by Penguin, the reason for the suspension is “due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners.”

Although Penguin has not yet cited its specific “security concerns”, many speculate there is concern regarding copyright and piracy issues. Industry sources say Amazon might have been offering Penguin e-books for free on Kindle despite the fact the publisher declined to participate in the program.

OverDrive Working With Penguin To Find Solution

OverDrive, which powers Amazon's Kindle Library Lending Service, recently offered information regarding Penguin’s statement.

According to OverDrive spokesperson Brianne Carlon, “OverDrive was instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin e-Book titles from our library catalog and disable ‘Get for Kindle’ functionality for all Penguin e-Books. We are actively working with Penguin on this issue and are hopeful Penguin will agree to restore access to their new titles and Kindle availability as soon as possible.”

While Penguin’s decision to restore its e-books to libraries is pending further discussion, the publisher did reinforce its commitment to business partners, and reassured readers that physical copies of new books will still be available in libraries across the globe.

Key Statistics – E-book Sales 2011 (source: Book Publishing Software.com)

  • First quarter numbers for publishing giant, Simon & Schuster showed that 18% of its revenue came from digital sales, with 17% of that sales from e-books
  • Harlequin reported that nearly 14% of its total sales were attributed to digital sales.
  • In the United States, HarperCollins accounted for 19% of its revenue from e-books and 11% of total sales throughout the world.
  • The largest number of e-book sales for leading publishers came from Hachette Book Group with 22% of sales being attributed to its digital segment.

By Laurie Juliano-Bachara for
Laurie Juliano-Bachara is a Chicago-based writer who covers the latest topics in professional services, entertainment and business news.

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