Publishers are Putting Libraries and Patrons in a Bind
New lending and purchasing models place financial burdens and time limitations on libraries.
Recent moves by book publishers to limit library access to eBooks and eAudiobooks will create increased financial burdens for libraries and wait times for patrons.
The eBook collection at Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) is so popular that the system’s digital circulation now ranks within the top twenty in the nation. PPLD cardholders have already surpassed one million checkouts on OverDrive, one of several eBook services offered by the Library District.
Hachette, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Blackstone Publishing, and Macmillian Publishers, among others, are changing their lending models for eBooks and eAudiobooks. While these changed lending models vary slightly from publisher to publisher, each change limits library access to digital books and will increase wait times for new releases and other titles.
“Unfortunately, these drastic steps by book publishers are putting Pikes Peak Library District in an extraordinarily difficult position,” said John Spears, Chief Librarian and CEO of PPLD. “Our digital circulation is incredibly high, and we know these new measures are going to increase wait times for our patrons.”
Most of the changes include new purchasing models, so that instead of libraries having perpetual access to each book they purchase, they have to re-purchase the books after two years.
As of Nov. 1, Macmillan Publishers imposed an eight-week embargo on public libraries for the purchase of new eBook titles. Libraries may only purchase a single copy of new eBook titles during the first eight weeks of its release, during which time the titles will be available through marketplace vendors.
“This is an equal access issue for our patrons,” Spears says. “We know that not everyone with a library card will be able to bypass these increased wait times by simply purchasing the digital book somewhere else, and they shouldn’t have to. We urge publishers to reverse or modify these changes, and encourage our patrons to speak out if they agree.”
To learn more about eBook restrictions and how to take action, go to ebooksforall.org.