When you head to the Revelstoke Okanagan Regional Library, have you noticed a lack of eBooks or eAudiobooks in the library? Okanagan Regional Libraries are frustrated that multinational publishers are not making many best selling titles available to the public libraries. These books include written works by Canadian and Indigenous writers.
“Another issue is excessively high prices and restrictive purchasing models for eAudiobooks and eBooks. Libraries lend digital copies just like physical books – on a one-to-one basis. But the prices public libraries pay for digital copies are exponentially higher,” says Don Nettleton, Chief Executive Officer for the Okanagan Regional Library in a press release.
An example of the prohibitive costs is the book A Noise Downstairs, by Linwood Barclay. For the library to purchase the physical novel, the cost is $19.20. To purchase the digital copy, the price jumps to $65.00.
“Public libraries are crucial to a vibrant publishing industry. We introduce Canadians to new titles and authors. We have significant purchasing power. These challenges are jeopardizing our ability to provide universal access to content in all its forms, including those who may not be able to visit a library branch or read print materials due to illness or disability,” said Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library. “We know Canadians love their libraries and care deeply about these issues, and are asking everyone to help us get this message across to major multinational publishers.”
The Canadian Urban Libraries Council is a national library group dedicated to working collaboratively to build vibrant urban communities by strengthening the capacity of Canada’s urban libraries. Their 45 member systems operate almost 700 points of access, and in 2017 were used by citizens more than 385,000,000 times. They represent approximately 80% of the country’s public library activity and employ more than 12,000 Canadians and purchase more than $100,000,000 of materials each year.
The Canadian Urban Libraries Council is asking Canadians to help resolve these issues by demanding stronger #eContentForLibraries of major multinational publishers including HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and Hachette Book Group.
- Digital content is the fastest growing area of borrowing for public libraries. Spending by Canada’s largest urban libraries increased by more than 45% since 2014 and continues to grow.
- eAudiobook sales are increasing by double digits each year and, in the last three years, use at six of the largest Canadian public libraries grew by 82%
- Overdrive, the leading provider of eBooks and eAudiobooks to libraries, reported a 24% increase in eAudiobook circulation in Canadian libraries from 2016 to 2017 alone