• This article explores how librarians have responded to publishers’ control
    over book prices in two different, yet related, historical periods. It historicizes the net price
    system, a book-price control system in the early twentieth century, within debates by librarians
    about library book buying and price negotiation practices. Turning to similarities in
    current e-book pricing, the article focuses on how publishers reduce the “fragility” of books
    as cultural commodities in either paper or electronic format, and then explores how libraries,
    publishers, and distributors gain power in library book pricing.