What if publishers paid a “Shelving Fee” to libraries?
I am riffing off an idea in Mike Shatzkin’s article “Some Ideas for publishers that will help bookstores...” He ponders the idea that a publisher pay a “shelving fee” for every book in a qualifying bookstore. But what if publishers paid a “Shelving Fee” to libraries?
A shelving fee according to Mike Shatzkin is a fee paid per month per book on the shelf for public discovery and purchase.
Considering the showrooming effect and the loss of Borders and decline of B&N, the importance of libraries as “view before you buy showrooms” is exploding.
Whereas the shelving fee supports an existing relationship between publishers and libraries – printed or physical material. It may keep libraries off publisher’s backs about eBooks and provide a needed revenue stream to libraries.
It would encourage libraries to buy more books from publishers. The larger the library inventory the larger the showrooming effect leading to purchases by additional consumers.
Perhaps publishers with their attraction to limiting or denying use of eBooks in libraries, could tie in a time or use based factor to their shelving fee. For example, they only pay a shelving fee for the first 12 months after purchase, or if the book is worn out after 26 loans. Publishers may wish to pay the shelving fee for each title rather than each copy. Every little bit will help my library system and we are definitely a showroom with our 2 fine indie bookshops.
So the question may be will it be easier to get publishers to the table to talk about paying shelving fees or to lighten up on their eBook in libraries policies?