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Library Windowing - Penguin Australia
#1  darryl 05-26-2020, 03:39 AM
On 1 March 2020 Viking published the paper book version of Australian Historian Geoffrey Blainey's "Captain Cook's Epic Voyage". On 31 March 2020 Penguin EBooks published the Kindle e-book edition of the same work. The Audible edition was also released on 31 March 2020. It appears that Paper and Audiobook versions are available in Australian libraries, but not the e-book version. So it appears that the publishers strategy in this case has been to release the paper version initially, with Audiobook and E-Book versions available for purchase about a month later. (The preceding struck out sentence was incorrect. All editions were in fact published on 31 March. My misreading. My eyesight is not improving with age.) Whilst paper and Audiobook versions are now available in libraries, the e-book edition is not, almost 2 months later.

Here is the link on Amazon Australia (https://www.amazon.com.au/Captain-Cooks-Epic-Voyage/dp/B084B16HZR/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=)

The Audiobook is available for sale on Amazon US, though other versions are not, except very expensive Paperbacks and an Audio CD through third parties.

I find this interesting for a couple of reasons. MacMillan was in the spotlight for its experimentation with libraries and suffered substantial adverse publicity before its back-down for which it blamed the Coronavirus. But it appears PRH is also playing games with libraries on at least some books. Secondly, it is interesting to see the Audiobook edition available in libraries whilst the e-book edition is not. This is disappointing but hardly surprising. I wonder to what extent other publishers are windowing their e-book releases, and whether PRH is also adopting this approach in the US.
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#2  pwalker8 05-26-2020, 07:03 AM
Quote darryl
On 1 March 2020 Viking published the paper book version of Australian Historian Geoffrey Blainey's "Captain Cook's Epic Voyage". On 31 March 2020 Penguin EBooks published the Kindle e-book edition of the same work. The Audible edition was also released on 31 March 2020. It appears that Paper and Audiobook versions are available in Australian libraries, but not the e-book version. So it appears that the publishers strategy in this case has been to release the paper version initially, with Audiobook and E-Book versions available for purchase about a month later. Whilst paper and Audiobook versions are now available in libraries, the e-book edition is not, almost 2 months later.

Here is the link on Amazon Australia (https://www.amazon.com.au/Captain-Cooks-Epic-Voyage/dp/B084B16HZR/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=)

The Audiobook is available for sale on Amazon US, though other versions are not, except very expensive Paperbacks and an Audio CD through third parties.

I find this interesting for a couple of reasons. MacMillan was in the spotlight for its experimentation with libraries and suffered substantial adverse publicity before its back-down for which it blamed the Coronavirus. But it appears PRH is also playing games with libraries on at least some books. Secondly, it is interesting to see the Audiobook edition available in libraries whilst the e-book edition is not. This is disappointing but hardly surprising. I wonder to what extent other publishers are windowing their e-book releases, and whether PRH is also adopting this approach in the US.
So far, in the US, I haven't seen a situation where a new book was available on Amazon in paper and audiobook, but not in ebook. All the examples I can think of are older books.

Looking at that book in the US Amazon store, it appears that it's from the Australian Penguin Random House, i.e. it's an import. That's why the paperback is so expensive. It's pretty common for books to take awhile to be available in the US. It took about a year for Stephen Fry's Mythos and Heroes to become available in the US after they appeared in the UK Amazon.
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#3  mitford13 05-26-2020, 10:37 AM
The publisher’s website lists the release date for all three versions as 31 March 2020. You’re pulling this stuff out of your...hat.
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#4  darryl 05-26-2020, 06:21 PM
Quote mitford13
The publisher’s website lists the release date for all three versions as 31 March 2020. You’re pulling this stuff out of your...hat.
From my original post:

Quote
On 31 March 2020 Penguin EBooks published the Kindle e-book edition of the same work.
You seem to have misunderstood. I am talking about Windowing the e-book release to libraries, not the publication date.
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#5  mitford13 05-26-2020, 08:09 PM
Quote darryl
From my original post:



You seem to have misunderstood. I am talking about Windowing the e-book release to libraries, not the publication date.
Also from your post:
“So it appears that the publishers strategy in this case has been to release the paper version initially, with Audiobook and E-Book versions available for purchase about a month later.”

If you are incorrect about the first I have no reason to believe you are correct about your second point.
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#6  darryl 05-26-2020, 08:23 PM
Quote mitford13
Also from your post:
“So it appears that the publishers strategy in this case has been to release the paper version initially, with Audiobook and E-Book versions available for purchase about a month later.”

If you are incorrect about the first I have no reason to believe you are correct about your second point.
I checked again on Amazon Australia and I was mistaken on this point. It seems I misread the date of publication of the paperback. Thank you for pointing this out. I have now corrected my original post. Nevertheless, the main point of my post, library windowing, remains unaffected. What I wrote was:

Quote
Whilst paper and Audiobook versions are now available in libraries, the e-book edition is not, almost 2 months later.
If you in fact believe I am incorrect as to the e-book's library availability, I would be grateful if you could link to a library I can currently borrow the book from. Certainly Overdrive only has the Audiobook.
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#7  darryl 05-27-2020, 01:01 AM
Below is the relevant part of the response that I have just received from a query to my library. It appears the Publisher is indeed withholding the e-book (but not the Audiobook) from library distribution.

Quote
I’ve followed up with our collections team and unfortunately the eBook is not available on any of our platforms. They’ve checked and it appears that it’s only been made available on the commercial platforms at this time:

https://www.penguin.com.au/books/captain-cooks-epic-voyage-9781760145026



The eAudiobook is the only format we have available.
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#8  MGlitch 05-27-2020, 12:45 PM
Quote darryl
I find this interesting for a couple of reasons. MacMillan was in the spotlight for its experimentation with libraries and suffered substantial adverse publicity before its back-down for which it blamed the Coronavirus. But it appears PRH is also playing games with libraries on at least some books. Secondly, it is interesting to see the Audiobook edition available in libraries whilst the e-book edition is not. This is disappointing but hardly surprising. I wonder to what extent other publishers are windowing their e-book releases, and whether PRH is also adopting this approach in the US.
The “substantial adverse” publicity is a bit of a stretch. Yes groups made a stink about it, but most major library systems didn’t publicly change their buying habits nor did they weigh in heavily. It’s also rather unlikely that this publicity was the root cause of their change in policy. The world changed with COVID-19, they changed with it likely not as just a PR move but because in the new normal ebooks would see an increased demand and paper would see a drop. Thus it’s more profitable for them to proceed with selling more licenses to libraries.

While it’s old in terms of new releases, the last book of wheel of time was entirely withheld as an ebook for quite some time after the physical and audio had been released. This was at the behest of the rights holder due to, her, IMO mistaken, belief that the ebook would cause the physical to not hit the NYT number one bestseller slot (a system which is so plagued with issues that it’s become almost irrelevant anyway). Meanwhile this did not represent any of the plans or intentions of the publisher.

Further on point you’ve cited a singular case and seem to be trying to use it as an indication of a whole plan from a major company. And it’s an arguably poor example given its genre. Unless there’s some messaging from Viking or PHR on a change in their policies or more widespread examples of this from them it’s likely an outlier and fairly meaningless.
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#9  darryl 05-27-2020, 07:26 PM
@MGlitch. There is little hard "evidence" on this whole area. For whatever reason the Publisher here has chosen to "window" this e-book in libraries, for what period I'm not sure. One of the things I'm interested in finding out is just how widespread this practice is. I would be pleased to find out that it is in fact an outlier, though I suspect not. Hopefully, it is also not that widespread. If you wait for major companies to announce what they are doing when it may attract criticism, you may have a very long wait. I was also interested in the fact that an Audiobook version was released to libraries whilst an e-book version was not.
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#10  pwalker8 05-27-2020, 07:38 PM
Quote MGlitch
The “substantial adverse” publicity is a bit of a stretch. Yes groups made a stink about it, but most major library systems didn’t publicly change their buying habits nor did they weigh in heavily. It’s also rather unlikely that this publicity was the root cause of their change in policy. The world changed with COVID-19, they changed with it likely not as just a PR move but because in the new normal ebooks would see an increased demand and paper would see a drop. Thus it’s more profitable for them to proceed with selling more licenses to libraries.

While it’s old in terms of new releases, the last book of wheel of time was entirely withheld as an ebook for quite some time after the physical and audio had been released. This was at the behest of the rights holder due to, her, IMO mistaken, belief that the ebook would cause the physical to not hit the NYT number one bestseller slot (a system which is so plagued with issues that it’s become almost irrelevant anyway). Meanwhile this did not represent any of the plans or intentions of the publisher.

Further on point you’ve cited a singular case and seem to be trying to use it as an indication of a whole plan from a major company. And it’s an arguably poor example given its genre. Unless there’s some messaging from Viking or PHR on a change in their policies or more widespread examples of this from them it’s likely an outlier and fairly meaningless.
I think it's a fair point that one can't infer too much from one book. You just never know what the deal is, especially when we are talking about a specialized topic. You really need either a specific statement from the publishing company/author or a number of books.
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