eBooks for All!

eBooks for All!

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.


I don't enjoy digital books (much prefer the printed page) -- BUT I know those who do. The publisher restraint on e-books would not even be considered on print books.

Libraries are so critical for free access to reading and listening material. Publishers please allow access at consistent and reasonable prices and practices. To punish libraries with access to only single copies and two month wait times is certainly not a reasonable practice in a democracy.

With ebooks becoming so popular has it become a financial detriment for publisher's to have a book being read so soon? How does that affect sales or an author's income if gaining access to a book (for free) becomes to easy? People have lives they have to pay for too.

Hi there. Thanks for your question. Libraries have to pay for each copy of an eBook or eAudiobook we acquire and only one patron can use a copy at a time. So, that use is contributing to the author and publisher income. Additionally, libraries pay significantly more for many eBooks than an individual purchaser does.

Also, how is checking out ebooks or audiobooks any different than checking out a physical book? If they don't penalize physical books why digital?

We love the ability to check out a book and read it as a family prior to purchasing books that we want to read over and over again. Because we've got little kids, it is so useful to be able to check them out online first! Please don't bind our libraries!

I don't usually check out e-books or e-audio books from the library but I know a lot of people who do. They depend on the library to be able to have access to these items. Please don't bind up libraries by causing them less access to your products. There are a lot of people who depend on public libraries to get access to these products.
Libraries are there to help everyone have access to books and when you do this you hurt everyone including your business.
There are plenty of us out here who already pay for these items so you don't need to hurt the libraries.

I don't agree with the ebooks as they supposedly cannot be used with the library computers. One is expected to read them on their own KINDLE or NOOK from what I understand, so good riddance and bring out the meat of any real library - REAL BOOKS that we can hold and value what went into putting them together!!

Hi there. We believe the argument isn’t over which option is better, but that our patrons deserve access to whatever option they prefer to use. Most eBook users use both eBooks and paper books depending on their situation. Some eBook users are limited to eBooks due to disabilities, location restrictions, etc. We want to ensure all our patrons have access to books, no matter what form they take.

Ok, not to be rude, but ebooks are real books too. Some of us feel more comfortable with reading on electronics than others, and I get that. Just don't be mean to the libraries - or the authors - because ebooks AND paperbacks are the same book, and though you might not be able to feel the pages, there is still value in ebooks. I know that you don't agree with them, and I respect your opinion; I just believe that ebooks are valuable too, so please don't be so mean about it. Even though the ebook wasn't bound in a factory, you can still appreciate it!

You can install the Kindle reader sw on Android, IOS, and Windows ... may be even more options... I don't know. If you've got a smartphone (most new ones, anyway) , you can read ebooks on your phone.

I agree with you 1000%! You are right!

I have to read books on a kindle due to an accident and not being able to hold a book and turn the pages anymore. I am very grateful to be able to still read books because I have a Kindle that I can easily use one handed. How is that any less a "real book" as you put it? Also, it is much easier to carry around a kindle and multiple books loaded onto it than a full stack. There is value in that even if you can't recognize it. I think this is a disservice to the libraries and patrons that utilize ebooks.

I read far more ebooks than regular books these days. I have several authors I follow through the library. If I purchase an ebook directly from the publisher, are they going to take it away from me after two years. I don't think so. Libraries should not be treated differently.

I recently had cataract surgery but prior to that (for about a year) my vision slowly worsened. I could no longer read my purchased books but instead borrowed ebooks so I could us a larger font. I think it is important to remember readers who need access to ebooks for reasons such as this.

Publishers understandably need to make a profit and need to be able to sell their new books. I'm okay with them wanting to make money off those who HAVE to read the book while it is fresh and new and hot. The rest of the restrictions bother me immensely.

As far as the comment about "real books" goes, books are text. Whether the reader has that text on paper, an e-ink screen, an LCD screen, or some other way doesn't matter. The reader is still enjoying the written word as generated by the author.

Conceptually I believe in supporting authors (& musicians) by purchasing the product of their labor so they rightfully rec'v royalties, earn a decent living and continue to create content. And I would happily do so if e-books were priced fairly. But digital books are routinely 50~80% higher price (at virtually zero incremental cost to the publisher) than a physical paperback (with substantial extra costs in printing, shipping, etc) - that is nothing but robbery on the digital highway, and the obscene margin earned provides absolutely no additional benefit to the author. Pure greed by the digital publishers, to which I am conceptually opposed. There are a million free books I've yet to read ... and WILL before I pay $16 for a digital download.

I teach and the 1st years the online resources, including an online textbook, were free if you had purchased student books and the teacher edition. Well, that went away pretty darn soon! It's just plain robbery to establish a policy that the online is free (for the hefty price of the print edition), then, psych! just kidding, now you have to purchase an online edition each year for teacher AND students for an even more exorbitant price point!

Ebooks would be amazing but who is to say that people will just get free copies of the file and never need a library anyways. what ever happened to just wanting a physical copy of things. I do hope a emp strike wipes out all electronics as we know it and we as a society go

We believe the argument isn’t over whether eBooks or physical books are better, but that our patrons deserve access to whatever option they prefer to use. Most eBook users use both eBooks and paper books depending on their situation. Some eBook users are limited to eBooks due to disabilities, location restrictions, etc. We want to ensure all our patrons have access to books, no matter what form they take.

I just joined audible and can afford to purchase audio books, but for many years I used the public library while raising my kids. I still get books on CD from the library. I like audio books because I an dyslexic and I read very slowly. Without library access to e-audio books or e-books many people will be unable to afford this platform. If the libraries are buying the book in this format and only allowing one patron at a time to check the book out, how is that different than a hard copy book purchased by the library? I disagree with the companies new policy. If a person can't afford to purchase the electronic format, they will forgo, reading the book. I can see charging the library a premium for an electronic book format, but within reason.

Ebooks allow for publishers to claw back and charge over and over. With a book it can be brought and stay on the shelves forever so when the publisher goes away, the book still can be found. This is a form of digital rot.

I drive an 18 wheeler so most of my time is spent driving and the audio books are pretty much the only way I can listen to books. I don't want to have to buy a book before hearing it because I don't have the money to waste if I don't like it. Why does everything good and wholesome in this country always have to be regulated and about money.

Documented proof reading from a blue light screen damages your eyes,
very disappointed that our money is going in this direction. I wanted to
check out a book but it was only available in digital format that needs to
change. Books should be the first priority for a library.

As I get older I’m having more vision issues and ebooks and readers allow me to adjust print size which I can’t do with physical books. Shame on McMillian.

A digital book should not be treated substantially differently from a physical one.
While the two forms are not identical, requiring libraries to re-purchase books they already own is wrong.
Once a library purchases a copy of a book, the library owns that copy.
It may lend that copy to its patrons forever, with no requirement to re-purchase.
The right to use that legally purchased copy does not expire.
That is really the essence of copyright law.


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