'Equal library access' threatened by publishing giant’s eBook policy, Saskatoon Library says
Text and an illustration from "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" are displayed on an iPad, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, in New York. (AP / Mark Lennihan)
Published Friday, October 18, 2019 12:40PM CST
Last Updated Friday, October 18, 2019 4:51PM CST
SASKATOON -- The Saskatoon Public Library is joining the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) and the American Library Association (ALA) in publicly opposing policy changes by Macmillan Publishers.
Beginning Nov. 1, all public libraries will only be able to buy one copy of any new Macmillan eBook release and will have to wait eight weeks before they can buy additional copies, the library said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
“This embargo will create a barrier for customers who cannot afford to purchase digital content and for those who rely on their library for accessing electronic reading material. In short, this further limits our ability to provide equal library access to all SPL patrons.”
Libraries are increasingly dependent on eBooks and eAudiobooks to meet growing demand and help reach people who have a hard time physically visiting the library - but the price of e-content is often exorbitant when compared to hard copies, the library said.
“As an example, Louise Penny's book, A Better Man, is available to libraries in hard copy for $22, in eBook format for $60, and in eAudiobook format for $81.50. Further, the $60 eBook can only be checked out 52 times or for two years - whichever comes first.”
The library asks those who share its concerns to consider signing an online petition.