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Free Library of Philadelphia discontinuing remote memberships
#11  issybird 11-01-2019, 06:35 PM
Quote ElspethB
Oh dear. I hope other libraries don't follow suit. I borrow a lot from Brooklyn Public Library.
For those whose native library is lacking, a paid membership elsewhere is a colossal bargain. My own state library is poor and while some communities purchase additional books for their own patrons, mine does not.

Quote Catlady
I'm surprised that it's (apparently) not cost-effective for FLP to offer paid cards. I gave up my membership a few years back when their audiobook acquisitions, in particular, seemed to become quite meager.
I get it. When you look at what the publishers charge for a single license, $50 doesn't go that far and you have to assume that those who pay for a card are at least relatively heavy users.

I borrow a lot of audiobooks through their Hoopla portal.

Still, if FLP wanted to cut back on the wait times, the obvious change would be to limit borrows to two weeks and not three.
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#12  Tomk2 11-01-2019, 06:55 PM
I wonder what annual fee it would take to operate a national digital library. Little physical overhead to drain resources compared to a brick library, but also lacking mandatory contributions by non-patrons (ie: taxpayers).

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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#13  ngrant 11-01-2019, 07:18 PM
Quote ElspethB
Oh dear. I hope other libraries don't follow suit. I borrow a lot from Brooklyn Public Library.
I changed my out-of-state membership from Philadelphia to Brooklyn Library a couple years ago and enjoy the larger audiobook selection particularly. Brooklyn (so far) still welcomes out-of-state members.

Details:
Spoiler Warning below






Out-of-State Residents (non-NYS residents)
Non-NYS residents may apply for a Brooklyn Public Library membership and enjoy access to our extensive selection of Articles & Databases and eBooks. There is an annual, non-refundable $50 fee for out-of-state cardholders.

Get a Library Card (Non-NYS residents)
Once your application is submitted, a representative will contact you within five (5) business days with the next steps.

If you choose to pick up your library card, you may do so by visiting any one of our 59 locations and speak with a staff member. The $50.00 annual, non-refundable fee may be paid at the time of pick-up.

We currently do not accept applications from international residents at this time.

Renewals - Out of State Residents: Library cards expire every year. To renew your out-of-state membership, please send an e-mail to osbplcard@bklynlibrary.org with your library card barcode and copy of acceptable ID. A $50.00 non-refundable annual fee will be applied to your account.

The application process starts here
You don't have to visit a NY library in person, but you'll need to submit a copy of your ID to confirm your physical residence; and your library member number (you select your 4 digit PIN in the application) required to borrow ebooks and audiobooks gets sent by email fairly quickly, and your card will follow by mail. Annual renewal is painless; once you send an email request to renew, $50 in fees is added to your library account and you can pay by credit card.

I'm very happy with my Brooklyn Overdrive membership and hope that the facility continues to be available!
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#14  mitford13 11-01-2019, 08:06 PM
Just speculating, but I wonder if this might be part of the ongoing ‘discussions’ between the libraries/ALA and publishers about licensing terms.

Back in July when the Macmillan CEO announced upcoming changes to book releases, among other reasons, he cited:

“The increase in library ebook reading is driven by a number of factors: a seamless delivery of ebooks to reading devices and apps (there is no friction in e-lending, particularly compared to physical book lending), the active marketing by various parties to turn purchasers into borrowers, and apps that support lending across libraries regardless of residence (including borrowing from libraries in different states and countries), to name a few.”

Could be libraries are deciding the extra income from out of staters isn’t enough to make up for extra hassle, including from the publishers. Just guessing, though.

Needs more friction!!

https://www.publishersweekly.com/binary-data/ARTICLE_ATTACHMENT/file/000/004/4222-1.pdf
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#15  SteveEisenberg 11-01-2019, 09:19 PM
Quote mitford13
Just speculating, but I wonder if this might be part of the ongoing ‘discussions’ between the libraries/ALA and publishers about licensing terms.
We'll see if others follow. But I'd think that the one publishers would have noticed first would have been Brooklyn.

Another speculation could be that there wasn't enough revenue generated to make the exercise a net benefit to Philadelphians. As far as charging more than Brooklyn for fewer titles, they might have thought that idea unfair to remaining out of town patrons.

Another speculation is that, without any threats from publishers, their lawyer nixed it out of an abundance of caution.

Another remote membership practice is their allowing Pennsylvanians outside Philadelphia to borrow for free. While this is almost universal practice, in the state, for paper books, some suburban counties do not practice reciprocity with their eBook collections.

I wonder if Brooklyn will respond to decreased competition by raising their price. If I was on their board, I would

EDITED: I just realized that raising the price may have issues. Profitable borrowers, who only take out a few titles a year, would drop out, leaving you with those who borrow so frequently as to make profitability impossible, even at a much higher price.
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#16  Catlady 11-02-2019, 10:32 AM
Quote issybird
I get it. When you look at what the publishers charge for a single license, $50 doesn't go that far and you have to assume that those who pay for a card are at least relatively heavy users.

I borrow a lot of audiobooks through their Hoopla portal.

Still, if FLP wanted to cut back on the wait times, the obvious change would be to limit borrows to two weeks and not three.
Cutting off a source of revenue seems counterintuitive. But I'll take it on faith that this move makes sense for FLP.

Hoopla and Freading were the two options that kept me with FLP long after I was annoyed with the paucity of Overdrive selections.
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#17  j.p.s 11-02-2019, 10:53 AM
Quote SteveEisenberg
I just realized that raising the price may have issues. Profitable borrowers, who only take out a few titles a year, would drop out, leaving you with those who borrow so frequently as to make profitability impossible, even at a much higher price.
Quote Catlady
Cutting off a source of revenue seems counterintuitive. But I'll take it on faith that this move makes sense for FLP.
I think SteveEisenberg's point might be part of it
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#18  mitford13 11-02-2019, 11:47 AM
Never paid that much attention to the costs of these kind of long distance memberships (very, very lucky with my local libraries), but usually when I see ALA comments (complaints) about new-release book licenses they’re in the $60+ range per license. Not sure about Freading, but I also saw articles about Hoopla a while back that it was so unexpectedly popular the usage fees were wiping out library budgets early in the year and they had to throttle back user checkouts. Or cancel the service. I just can’t imagine the $50 fees from out of state could even be break-even. From a tax payer’s POV I would not be thrilled if my library offered those types of membership - that could be another pushback that Philadelphia is seeing.
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#19  issybird 11-02-2019, 11:56 AM
Quote Catlady
Cutting off a source of revenue seems counterintuitive. But I'll take it on faith that this move makes sense for FLP.

Hoopla and Freading were the two options that kept me with FLP long after I was annoyed with the paucity of Overdrive selections.
Just for fun, I decided to take a quick and ad hoc look at a few numbers. Googling gave me a Hachette price of $84 on a library license for a book which retails for $14.99. Amortizing this over a year gives $1.60 week. A paid patron who reads two per week costs $300, or $250 net. The breakeven is at about 30 books a year, or two and a half per month. Even the maximum borrows of six books at a time kept for the maximum three weeks would result in about 100 books per year.

I did say this was ad hoc! There are a lot of factors involved both in the aggregate and per account, and I admit that using the Hachette license price on new books scales the dollar figure up significantly (it ignores books that are cheaper or whose costs have been entirely amortized), but I think it does show the potential for colossal losses on individual customers. This ties into both Steve's point about paid patrons who seek to maximize their use and Catlady's about FLP knowing the costs of servicing paid patrons.

I'll add that the timing, at the same time at the Macmillan embargo, strikes me as suggestive. I suspect it led FLP to take a long and hard look at the demand and the waitlists for new books. It's entirely possible that this is a sop to their local patrons, who'll see a shorter waiting list on the single Macmillan copy in the first eight weeks.

I suppose I was part of the problem in that case, as my m.o. is always to put holds at all my libraries on the new stuff I want and then I wait and see which lands first.
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#20  issybird 11-02-2019, 12:00 PM
Quote mitford13
Never paid that much attention to the costs of these kind of long distance memberships (very, very lucky with my local libraries), but usually when I see ALA comments (complaints) about new-release book licenses they’re in the $60+ range per license. Not sure about Freading, but I also saw articles about Hoopla a while back that it was so unexpectedly popular the usage fees were wiping out library budgets early in the year and they had to throttle back user checkouts. Or cancel the service. I just can’t imagine the $50 fees from out of state could even be break-even. From a tax payer’s POV I would not be thrilled if my library offered those types of membership - that could be another pushback that Philadelphia is seeing.
You made my point while I was typing, but I'll add that entirely coincidentally earlier this week I asked my local library if they could add Hoopla to their electronic offerings, as some of the bigger area towns have. Nope! Too expensive (which is what I expected to hear, but I figured it couldn't hurt to put in the request).
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