Canadian libraries have been complaining for years about the draconian prices publishers charge for ebooks. They often have to pay 500% above the retail cost just for a single use book to loan out to one customer at a time. Many publishers have also revised their business models too, instead of an ebook being valid on a perpetual basis, they now expire after two years. Canadian libraries have had enough, and so have US libraries.
The American Library Association is taking the high prices of ebooks and the short expiry issues directly with Congress. The “Resolution on E-Book Pricing for Libraries” was adopted and brought to the ALA Council by ASCGLA (the Association of Specialized, Government and Cooperative Library Agencies), a division of the ALA. The resolution references efforts in Canada to alert the public to the problems of licensing digital content from publishers, and proposes to create a new joint working group to more directly confront the issues in the U.S.
Here is what the ALA is demanding and everything is really legit and should be implemented.
- Creates a joint working group of representatives from ALA, ULC, ASGCLA, COSLA, PLA, LITA, ALCTS, RUSA, and other members to be determined to address library concerns with publishers and content providers specifically:
- to develop a variety of digital content license models that will allow libraries to provide content more effectively, allowing options to choose between one-at-a-time, metered, and other options to be made at point of sale;
- to make all content available in print and for which digital variants have been created to make the digital content equally available to libraries without moratorium or embargo;
- to explore all fair options for delivering content digitally in libraries;
- to urge Congress to explore digital content pricing and licensing models to ensure democratic access to information
- Develops an advocacy and public awareness campaign to provide accurate information about the true value of library purchasing of books to publishers.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.