Publishers Are Applying Onerous Restrictions on Ebooks at Libraries

Rosa Saba of the Star, reporting on Macmillan’s restrictions on ebooks leant to library patrons:

There are four main issues libraries are having when it comes to accessing ebooks and e-audiobooks, she said. The first is cost: ebooks or e-audiobooks can cost up to five times the price of a print copy for a library, she said.

The second issue is the rise in metered access or expiry dates for ebook licenses. More and more, publishers are making ebook licenses expire after two years, or after a certain number of uses.

Third, some e-audiobooks just aren’t available to libraries at all. That’s because companies like Audible have exclusivity rights on certain titles, blocking libraries from accessing them.

And of course, there’s the recent change by MacMillan, a new type of restriction.

Jon Stone:

Can you imagine the hysterical reaction if someone had suggested the creation of public libraries today. ‘For free? How are you going to pay for that, STALIN?’

This is not a unique observation in the world of tweet-based observations, but it has remained a nagging thought in the back of my head for years. Libraries have nimbly adapted as they continue to serve community needs, in spite of ridiculous doubts about their continued relevance and twenty-first century roadblocks like those reported above. Libraries deserve ongoing support for the greater good; DRM and other gatekeepers to learning are antithetical to their mission and role.