What Do Authors Earn from Digital Lending at Libraries?

SOURCE: Jane Friedman

Of the many changes wrought by the pandemic on the publishing industry, one of the most dramatic has been on library circulation. OverDrive, the biggest US distributor of digital materials to libraries and schools, saw lending increase by 33 percent in 2020; as libraries closed and stopped ordering print materials, many shifted their budgets to digital collections. But buying and lending digital materials poses challenges for most library budgets…

Traditionally published authors are paid when their books sell to libraries regardless of format, usually at the same royalty rate that’s paid out for a retail sale. However, library unit sales may not be known to authors, as they’re often mixed in with retail sales on royalty statements. Complicating matters, what the consumer pays and what the library pays for an ebook may not be the same. Digital licenses can be as much as six times the consumer price and they expire….