Future Trends in Pricing for Library Materials

For each person in your community, how much income does your public library earn? In Colorado the average local income per capita for public libraries in 1999 was $29.67. Now think how much an average hardcover book costs and how it will change between now and 2004. The 45th edition of the Bowker Annual reported the average retail price of a hardback book in 1997 as $34.57. You needed more than $100 per customer in income to buy 3 books at 1997 retail prices.

Of course, public libraries pay jobber prices for materials, not retail. The Public Library Price Index in the 2000 Bowker Annual lists jobber hardcover prices in 1997 as $14.43, trade paperback at $8.54 and mass market at $3.55. We took these jobber prices for all library materials and charted a trend line over 5 years using an exponential formula to forecast pricing for the next 6 years. Chart 1 (see full report) shows hardcover prices in 1998 at $14.35. By 2004, we can expect an average hardcover jobber price of $16.20 for a 13 percent increase.

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