At its Sept. 13, 2019 meeting, the Ohio Library Council’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution calling upon Blackstone Audio, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster to reconsider recently announced policies that severely limit public libraries’ ability to purchase and lend eBooks and eAudioBooks. The resolution calls for publishers to engage in a meaningful dialogue with libraries to create new policies that ensure equitable access for Ohio’s 8.5 million library cardholders.
“The arbitrary limitations set by publishers make it difficult for libraries to fulfill their central mission of ensuring access to information for everyone, regardless of personal income or physical abilities,” said Michelle Francis, Executive Director, of the Ohio Library Council. “Last year, Ohioans downloaded more than 22 million eBooks and eAudiobooks from their local libraries. These new policies severely restrict access, in some cases to just one copy, and ultimately hurt people who depend upon libraries the most.”
Over the past year, licensing terms for libraries have changed dramatically resulting in fewer copies available and longer wait times for readers. Libraries are routinely limited on the number of digital copies they are allowed to purchase or forced to wait months after a book is released. When they are allowed to purchase eBooks and eAudiobooks, libraries often pay three to five times the consumer price.
Last week, the ALA launched a national campaign against Macmillan’s eBook embargo of libraries.