June 2013

Downloadables · EBook Issues Facing Public Libraries

Ebook use is the fastest growing area of use in libraries today. Last year, our Library saw a 107% increase in the number of digital downloads. A library can buy a printed book and lend it out--but digital content is treated differently by the publishers and the companies who manage digital content licensing. We know you want these eBooks and we want to provide them to you. Several major publishers refuse to sell or license eBooks to public libraries, making many bestselling authors unavailable to cardholders. Others charge exorbitant prices for libraries to purchase their content. To make matters worse, vendors providing eBooks to libraries have proprietary loan systems, making it confusing for cardholders to borrow items from the Library. As your public library, we commit to continuing advocacy for change in these policies.

To raise awareness of this issue, the Library’s Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director, Kim Fender joined several colleagues in Washington D.C. earlier this year to meet with Ohio’s Congressional delegation about the issues surrounding access to eBooks in public libraries. A fact sheet, PowerPoint presentation, and call to action were shared with thirteen legislators during these meetings.

Additionally, an editorial in the June 24, 2013 Cincinnati Enquirer urged publishers and libraries to work together to resolve this issue.

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