American Library Association responds to Penguin Random House e-book licensing announcement

For Immediate Release
Thu, 12/03/2015

Contact:

Nancy Gravatt
Press Officer
Washington Office
American Library Association
202-403-8208

New York City – Responding to a Penguin Random House announcement today that it will implement perpetual access for all of its e-book titles and cap prices per title, the American Library Association (ALA) said it welcomes improvement in long-term access and pricing, but noted that the new cap of $65 continues a significant premium over consumer e-book and library print titles. The new regime will phase out the Penguin model of one-year lending and reduce the price for some previous Random House titles with a $65 cap on all Penguin Random House e-titles starting January 1, 2016.

“Libraries will be pleased that the combined Penguin Random House license will ensure perpetual access to e-titles, and all will be glad the previous ceiling of $85 per title has been reduced,” said ALA President Sari Feldman. “But I also know many of my colleagues will miss the flexibility of paying near-consumer prices for e-copies they may not wish to maintain indefinitely, and some will be unable to afford to provide access to the e-books their communities seek.”

Feldman and other ALA leaders met yesterday with Penguin Random House leaders, as well as separately with other major publishers as part of ongoing engagement by the ALA Digital Content Working Group (DCWG). When they were separate companies, Penguin and Random House were among the first to make available e-books for library lending. ALA leadership discussions on library e-book lending with publishers, distributors, authors and readers have been ongoing for over four years.

“I remember those earliest conversations, and I am proud of the progress we’ve made to further our shared goals of connecting authors and readers and promoting a culture of reading and literacy,” Feldman said. “I also know we’re not done. We need to leverage technology to improve access, integration and user experience. Libraries transform through innovative practices and partnerships—in the digital realm, as well as face-to-face with our communities and collaborators.”

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 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.