eBooks Update: ALA Responds to Congressional Inquiry on Competition in Digital Markets

The American Library Association (ALA) publicly released a report to Congress on Oct. 24 explaining that current practices by content publishers and distributors in digital markets limit libraries’ ability to deliver core services. The report was submitted in response to an inquiry from the US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law. It underscores that practices by companies like Amazon and Macmillan Publishers threaten Americans’ right to read what and how they choose, and imperil other fundamental First Amendment freedoms. The report urges lawmakers to curb anti-competitive practices of digital market actors.


Read the full report (PDF)


The report comes in the middle of the ALA’s #eBooksForAll campaign that protests Macmillan Publishers’ plan to restrict sales to libraries. Beginning Nov. 1, libraries of all sizes will be limited to purchasing one copy of a newly published e-book title and must wait eight weeks to buy additional copies. The embargo has outraged library advocates across country. At its September meeting, the OLC’s Board of Directors passed a resolution urging Macmillan and others to reverse their policies. To date, more than 155,000 people have signed ALA’s petition at ebooksforall.org. However, despite this effort, we are hearing that Macmillan intends to go forward with their embargo on Fri., Nov. 1. ALA plans to pursue legislative and legal options. The OLC will continue to provide updates on this issue.