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COLUMBIA CITY â€” One local library is being negatively affected by a suspected case of e-book price gouging, which has come on the heels of the launch of a lending system designed for the electronically-savvy reader.
According to a report by the Jasper (Ind.) Herald, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Apple and several book publishers last week, alleging that the popular electronics corporation conspired with the publishers to raise prices on e-books â€śby taking control of e-book pricing from retailers,â€ť according to a statement.
One local library is following the case closely.
â€śThe Peabody Public Library is a member of the Indiana Digital Download Consortium (Overdrive) and has felt the sting of rising e-book prices,â€ť said Mary Hartman, director of the Peabody Public Library in Columbia City.
â€śE-book circulation checkouts increase every month,â€ť Hartman said. â€śTo date, we have experienced a 500 percent increase in this format over the past year. Electronic devices are extremely popular with our patrons. Unfortunately, e-book pricing makes it difficult for us to purchase multiple copies of popular titles for our patronsâ€™ use.â€ť
Hartman said competition among readers puts pressure on libraries such as hers to provide what members want.
â€śThere are 36 other small public libraries that are members of the consortium, and all of our patrons are clamoring for the same e-books,â€ť Hartman said. â€śMany of the popular titles have multiple holds on them and patrons may have to wait a considerable time in order to get the e-books they want to read. Itâ€™s a shame that e-book publishers are driving costs out of the reach of public libraries and their patrons when we should be working hand-in-hand to provide the most current information using updated technologies in a cost-effective manner.
â€śIt will be interesting to see what comes out of the lawsuit,â€ť Hartman said.