As ebooks has evolved over the last few years, they’ve started to move into the classroom. eBook pricing for school libraries has also evolved. School Library Journal explains the slow rise in this article. You can also read the SLJ 2015 eBook Usage Report here.
Most educational distributors now offer several options which are set individually by different publishers.
For this pricing, a school pays for each ebook and it’s licensed to be displayed on one and only one device at at time. This mimics the model for paper books–hardcover or paperback–where each copy is paid for separately, and treated as an individual object.
Another pricing model, however, recognizes that you only need to deliver the ebook once. However, if the ebook is displayed on multiple devices at at time, the publisher loses revenue. They’d rather sell 10 paper books than one ebook. This model is a compromise that allows school libraries some benefit, while also giving the publisher their due for publishing the book. Usually, this model says that a school library may purchase an ebook for a multi-book price, and then display it on unlimited devices at one time.
The industry is still in flux about how much to charge for the 1-to-unlimited model! Some Unlimited eBook licenses are double the price of the single ebook; some are 15 times as much. However, the industry seems to be settling somewhere around 6-8 times the single book price. The reasoning behind this is that a reading group at school is about 5 or 6 students, plus a teacher. That gives the publisher a reasonable chance of earning income for multiple reads at a time, while keeping the pricing reasonable for a school.
Of course, a Newbery award winning book, for example, may be in demand across multiple grades at the same time. In that case, publisher may choose a higher pricing, or may ask schools to pay for individual pricing.
Some publisher are also asking schools to pay for licensing their entire catalog of ebooks for a year. Arbordale Publishing, for example, has a proprietary app that allows access to their entire catalog, including the Spanish translations. Schools who opt in pay one price for comprehensive access, or you may pay for access for one classroom.
Mims House books has both 1-to-1 and 1-to-unlimited pricing available through our distributors: Follett School Solutions, Permabound, and Mackin. Download our catalog for full ordering info, and then check your preferred distribuor to order our ebooks.