Ebook Lending & Pricing

Ebook reader on bookshelf

In 2011, the American Library Association formed the Digital Content & Libraries Working Group, undertaking a coordinated effort across the library field (including Public Library Association member leaders) to advocate for access to ebooks for library lending by all major publishers. At the time, several publishers refused to sell at all while others were changing their licensing terms for libraries. By 2014, the last of the major publishers was offering complete access to their ebook catalog to libraries.

Now, after several years of relative stability (though at high prices), the publisher ebook licensing terms for library lending are again shifting in disconcerting directions. ALA (and its divisions) has a longstanding commitment to ensuring all people have access to the world's knowledge through our nation's libraries, regardless of format. Many new models for library digital lending will make it difficult for libraries to fulfill our central mission—ensuring access to information for all.

Here's the truth: Limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for readers. Access to ebooks through public libraries must not be denied or delayed, and PLA will work with ALA and other allied library organizations to explore all possible avenues to ensure that libraries can purchase and lend at pricing models that are reasonable and flexible.