Good News for Libraries!

June 21, 2012 (Anaheim, California)

“On the first day of the largest library conference in the world, the American Library Association (ALA) welcomed the announcement from Penguin Group USA that it will re-enter the library e-book lending market with a pilot in New York City.”

Read the statement from ALA President Molly Raphael to learn more.

Publishers and Libraries and eBooks

We’ve been blogging about this for a while now …

ebooks from some publishers are not available to libraries at any price (e.g., Penguin Group).  Other publishers have placed caps on the number of times an ebook can be checked out (e.g., HarperCollins).  Once the cap is reached, access is lost and the library has to purchase the ebook again.  Still others, (e.g., Random) have raised the price of ebooks to libraries by as much as 300%.

The good news is that efforts continue to enable library access to ebooks to everyone in America’s communities.  ALA (American Library Association) met with e-book distributors during the Public Library Association (PLA) Conference, March 13-17.  Here’s the report on those meetings.

Has this had an affect on you?  Definitely.  The BSC Library can no longer purchase ebooks from Penguin for our Beyond Library Walls Digital Collection (powered by OverDrive). Our purchasing of HarperCollins titles has been dramatically reduced (in fact, we no longer purchase HarperCollins ebooks at all) and we’ve already cancelled ebook purchases from Random. For example, it’s hard to justify spending $88 for an ebook version of a title that we can get for $12.95 in a paperback format.

Publishers, ebooks, and Libraries – An Uneasy Relationship

On November 21, the Penguin Group (USA), announced it was discontinuing the lending of new e-book titles to library patrons.  In addition, library patrons with the Amazon Kindle e-reader would no longer be able to check-out any Penguin titles from libraries.  Sigh, deep sigh.

American Library Association (ALA) President-elect Maureen Sullivan released the following statement regarding the abrupt change in e-book access:

“Penguin Group’s recent action to limit access to new e-book titles to libraries has serious ramifications. The issue for library patrons is loss of access to books, period.  Once again, readers are the losers.

“If Penguin has an issue with Amazon, we ask that they deal with Amazon directly and not hold libraries hostage to a conflict of business models. 

“This situation is one more log thrown onto the fire of libraries’ abilities to provide access to books – in this case titles they’ve already purchased.  Penguin should restore access for library patrons now.”

On November 24, Penguin reversed its decision — at least for now. For the details, read the article from Digital Trends: Penguin ebooks Return to Libraries.

Librarian’s note: The BSC Library has purchased several ebooks published by Penguin Group for our Beyond Library Walls Digital Collection, which is powered by OverDrive.  Retaining access to these items matters!