EBook and EAudiobook Licensing Changes Are Causes for Concern

The summer of 2019 has brought dramatic changes in eBook and eAudiobook licensing to libraries from many publishers.  Among the most prominent is Macmillan Publishers’ July 25th announcement that beginning November 1, 2019, a library may only purchase one copy of a new title upon release in eBook format, after which an eight-week embargo will be imposed on additional copies sold to libraries.1  Blackstone Audio is also placing a moratorium on libraries, prohibiting them from purchasing new content within the first 90 days of the retail date.2

Rather than imposing embargos, publishers Penguin Random House,3 Hachette Book Group,4 and Simon & Schuster5 have announced they are doing away with library-owned perpetual licenses and are adopting two-year licenses.  In many cases the publishers have lowered the initial prices of these timed titles which may help some libraries, but others have expressed concern over long-term costs to libraries by requiring continual purchasing of popular older titles.3

Macmillan’s representatives have pointed to reduced retail eBook sales in connection with library use as the primary motivation for their changes.6  Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive, has rebutted such claims, pointing out many timed licenses that libraries purchase never reach their maximum checkouts in the time allotted to the license, resulting in higher costs per circulation than Macmillan reported.7

ALA President Wanda Brown has expressed great concern over the timed license changes and the embargos.  “Eliminating perpetual access increases challenges to the long-term preservation of the nation’s cultural heritage. . . Furthermore, a price point of as much as $79.99 for two-year access to one copy of an audio book is excessive and reduces public access.”5  Also from President Brown, “Macmillan Publishers’ new model for library ebook lending will make it difficult for libraries to fulfill our central mission: ensuring access to information for all. . . Limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for patrons most dependent on libraries.  When a library serving many thousands has only a single copy of a new title in ebook format, it’s the library – not the publisher – that feels the heat. It’s the local library that’s perceived as being unresponsive to community needs.”1

While the Utah Library Association agrees that the rights of authors, publishers, and libraries should be balanced, we echo the concerns over the potential consequences of these various changes, particularly in the cases of the large libraries of our state as they strive to serve large populations.

 

1 American Library Association. “ALA denounces new Macmillan library lending model, urges library customers to voice objections”, July 25, 2019. www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/07/ala-denounces-new-macmillan-library-lending-model-urges-library-customers (Accessed August 29, 2019)

Document ID: 7ee1b4cf-aba7-476e-8ef6-f4d3146e4797

2 Blackwell, Michael. Readers First. “Hachette, Blackstone change library digital content models/availability”, June 17, 2019. www.readersfirst.org/news/2019/6/17/hachette-blackstone-change-library-digital-content-modelsavailability (Accessed August 29, 2019)

3 Enis, Matt. Library Journal. “Librarians react to new Penguin Random House ebook terms”, Oct. 12, 2018. www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=181012PRHebookterms (Accessed August 29, 2019)

4 American Library Association. “ALA ‘concerned’ over Hachette Book Group ebook and audio book lending model changes”, June 17, 2019. www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/06/ala-concerned-over-hachette-book-group-ebook-and-audio-book-lending-model (Accessed August 29, 2019)

Document ID: 9684779e-4c06-44fb-ba09-6d5ea3324305

5 American Library Association. “ALA uneasy about Simon & Schuster digital lending model changes”, July 2, 2019. www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/07/ala-uneasy-about-simon-schuster-digital-lending-model-changes (Accessed August 29, 2019)

Document ID: 84e2ae19-9d06-4ca4-962a-199cf00110d3

6 Enis, Matt. Library Journal. “Publishers change ebook and audiobook models; libraries look for answers”, July 17, 2019. www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=publishers-change-ebook-and-audiobook-models-libraries-look-for-answers (Accessed August 29, 2019)

7 Potash, Steve. Thoughts from a digital advocate: The official blog of Steve Potash. “Macmillan publishes a work of fiction”, Aug. 1, 2019. overdrivesteve.com/macmillan-publishes-a-work-of-fiction/ (Accessed August 29, 2019)

Fall Workshop! Register today!

Theme: “Spike Our Libraries with Golden Opportunities”

Brigham City Public Library

26 E Forest St, Brigham City, UT 84302

9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

Breakout session topics:

Library neutrality: asset or liability?

Special collections in public libraries

Incorporating historic government documents into instruction and outreach

The art of hosting in your library

Advocacy best practices

Opportunities and challenges in providing a recording studio in your library

Opening session speaker: Chaundra Johnson, Library Development Program Manager, Utah State Library

Luncheon speaker: Ryan Lee, Curator, 19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts, Brigham Young University

Registration Fees:

$15 Early Bird online registration until Sept 18th

$20 on-site registration

Lunch will be provided.

Register

Hotel Info 2020

Hilton Garden Inn St. George

1731 South Convention Center Drive, St. George, UT, 84790

435-634-4100

A room block is held for the ULA group from Tuesday May 12th – Saturday May 16th. You may call the number above or use our reservation housing link to make a reservation.

The ULA group rate is $85 per night plus tax.

Parking on site is complimentary.

Need a ride?

St. George Airport (SGU) is closing May 29 – September 26, 2019‬. Stgeorgeshuttle.com is giving our guests 15% off to/from the Cedar City(CDC) OR Las Vegas(LAS) airports. Use “shuttle15” promo code when booking your shuttle.

2019 ULA Fall Workshop – Save the Date and Call for Entries

Hello!

Mark your calendars and Save the Date for the 2019 ULA Fall Workshop on September 27th in Brigham City, UT. Our theme is “Spike Our Libraries with Golden Opportunities.”

 

If you are interested in submitting a session proposal please provide the following information regarding your proposal in an email to Erin Mendoza (emendoza@slcpl.org) by July 31, 2019. 

Presenter(s):

  • Name
  • Library
  • Email
  • Phone

Intended Audience:

  • Academic
  • General
  • Public
  • School
  • Special

Working Title for Program:

Program Description (50-150 words):

 

Sessions will be 60 minutes long.

Please note popular workshop program topics include Advocacy, Professional/Staff Development, Serving Youth and Children, Technology and tools, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).

If your proposal is accepted, please understand and agree to the following:

  • You must be able to travel to Brigham City, UT to present. 
  • You must provide your own devices and connection cables for your presentation.
  • ULA does not pay honorariums or reimbursement for travel expenses. 

Utah Library Association Wins 2019 ALA Gerald Hodges Award for Intellectual Freedom

The Utah Library Association is honored to receive the 2019 American Library Association Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Award! This award is given to the most innovative and effective intellectual freedom project covering a state or region. ULA is awarded the 2019 Hodges Award for taking the lead in building a coalition of partners that lead to the reinstatement of access to EBSCO databases for more than 650,000 students after a state Board blocked access based on complaints that EBSCO databases were pornographic. The month-long campaign to overturn the censorship decision was multi-faceted, strategic, and generated thousands of emails from ordinary Utah citizens direct to UEN Board Members, resulting in a reversal of their initial decision to ban access to the databases.

ULA Advocacy Chair Peter Bromberg, who coordinated the effort to reinstate EBSCO, will be at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC to receive a plaque and $1000 prize on behalf of the Utah Library Association. Congratulations, Peter and ULA!