eBook Acquisition and Licensing Issues in Public Libraries

Tuesday, 12/20/2022 - Wednesday, 12/21/2022
  • 10:00 AM-6:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 9:00 AM-5:00 PM (Central)
  • 8:00 AM-4:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 7:00 AM-3:00 PM (Pacific)

Public Library eBook and eAudiobook collections are facing difficult circumstances due to the increasing use of restrictive (metered) licensing models by major publishers, including licenses that expire after a specified period (e.g., 12 or 24 months) or after a limited number of checkouts. Originally confined mostly to eBooks, publishers are increasingly applying similar restrictive licenses to audiobooks as well. The Covid pandemic and resultant lockdowns put increased pressure on digital collections, with many libraries shifting budgets from print to digital in response. Metered licenses purchased during this period are now expiring, creating a sustainability crisis for many libraries, especially those with limited budgets.

This e-Forum will explore some of the ramifications of this situation, asking and discussing how libraries are coping, with the goal of sharing techniques and methods used to mitigate or manage these kinds of problems. Some of the practical questions to be considered include:

  •  What is the approximate balance between budgeting for new content for your eBook/eAudio collection vs. money used to fill holds, reduce wait times, and to replace expired licenses? 
  • What holds ratio does your library use for its eBook/eAudio collection and why? Have you made use of varying holds ratios for different publishers, different license models, or different price points? 
  • Are expired licenses routinely weeded, or allowed to remain in your eBook collection? What criteria are used for deciding when or whether to replace expired licenses? 

If you have question, need assistance, or would like to propose an e-Forum topic, please write to core-eforum+help@groups.io.

Browse other upcoming e-Forums

Learning Outcomes

In this e-Forum, attendees will explore: 

  • The ramifications of restrictive licensing models for eBooks and eAudiobooks
  • How libraries are currently coping with licensing models and costs
  • Techniques and methods to mitigate or manage license and budget issues

Who Should Attend

Anyone interested in eBook and eAudiobook acquisitions.


Will Stuivenga, Library Development Cooperative Projects Manager, Washington State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State. Since 2010, with the guidance of a member-elected Executive Committee, Will has managed the Washington Digital Library Consortium, comprising 45 mostly smaller and mid-sized public libraries throughout the state, serving a combined population of 840,000, which collectively own and operate the Washington Anytime Library

Lisa Sallee, Assistant Director, Ocean State Libraries, Rhode Island. Ocean State Libraries serves over 50 library systems in Rhode Island, providing a state-wide catalog and technical support, among other services, to member libraries. Lisa manages the eZone site—swim lanes or digital displays, methods for serving up content for their Spanish speaking patrons, methods for dealing with holds ratios and expensive popular content while still adding new content to the site and staying within budget. 



To participate, subscribe to the list by sending an email to core-eforum+subscribe@groups.io. Your message can be empty. Your request will be approved within 1-2 business days. You will receive a welcome email from Groups.io with instructions on how to create a user account to manage your notification settings.

How to Register

The Core e-Forum list is using the discussion list platform called Groups.io.

Please take a moment to subscribe to the new list by sending an email to core-eforum+subscribe@groups.io. Your message can be empty. Your request will be approved within 1-2 business days. You will receive a welcome email from groups.io with instructions on how to create a user account to manage your notification settings.

If you have questions or need assistance, please write to core-eforum+help@groups.io. If you are not interested in subscribing, please ignore this email.

Code of Conduct

Please review the Statement of Conduct before registering.

Tech Requirements

Internet connection with email address. You can manage your subscription to this list following the online instructions.




For help subscribing to the e-Forum list, please contact core-eforum+help@groups.io.