Bestselling authors call for library e-book lending

For Immediate Release
Thu, 06/27/2013


Jazzy Wright

Press Officer

Washington Office

American Library Association


ALA Launches “Authors for Library E-books” Campaign

CHICAGO —Today, Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association (ALA), announced the launch of “Authors for Library Ebooks,” a new initiative that asks authors to stand with libraries in their quest for equitable access to e-books. Bestselling authors Cory Doctorow, Ursula K. Le Guin and Jodi Picoult are helping kick off the campaign.

The campaign represents an extension of the ALA’s advocacy strategy to ensure all people have access to the world’s knowledge and literature through our nation’s libraries—regardless of format. Over the past 18 months, ALA leaders have met with major publishers, distributors, authors and representative associations to seek sustainable solutions for library e-book lending. 

“The heart of the issue is that access to authors’ works through libraries is being restricted— hurting discovery, reading choice, literacy and the simple love of reading,” said ALA President Maureen Sullivan. “Many e-books are still not available to most libraries at any price. Of those we can buy, the library frequently pays 150-500 percent more than the consumer price, forcing libraries to purchase fewer copies for library readers.

“We’ve made some progress over the past year, but not far or fast enough to meet the growing needs of our communities,” Sullivan added.

Libraries support authors in a range of ways, including:

  • Exposure. Libraries help authors get noticed through author events, book clubs, readers advisory and features on library websites;
  • Sales. Research shows that library loans encourage people to buy books. Many libraries now even provide an option for people to click and “buy-it-now” from their websites. 
  • Respect. Libraries honor authors’ work by protecting copyright and paying for the content they lend.
  • Love of reading. Libraries help grow readers – and writers. 

“My first job was at a library, and one of the things that I remember so clearly is the wide range of people who came in our doors every day. Young, old, rich, poor—libraries encourage exploration and a love of reading,” Picoult said. “Whether it’s a digital file or a paper copy, I want readers to find my books—and all books—in their libraries! I stand with libraries—and I invite other authors to join me in the campaign for library e-books for all.”

Both Le Guin and Doctorow also have written and spoken about the need to improve access to e-books and innovate in ways that support reader choice and reader privacy.

Developed by the ALA’s Digital Content & Libraries Working Group, the Authors for Library E-books campaign encourages authors to sign on to a statement of shared values, to discuss the issue with their publishers, and raise awareness of their concerns through their websites, social media and other communications channels. 

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.