Cost of ebooks, audiobooks ‘not a sustainable model’ for Canadian libraries, council says

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In case your vacation plans embody downloading an audiobook of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Story from a public library assortment, or unwinding with an digital copy of Justin Trudeau’s Frequent Floor, you may be out of luck.

Libraries throughout Canada are operating into obstacles in accessing each ebooks and digital audiobooks for his or her patrons.

Sharon Day, who chairs an e-content working group for the Canadian City Library Council, says main e book publishers are charging unfair costs and Audible — the corporate that owns the rights to many digital audiobooks — is declining to share them in any respect.

“Among the materials simply isn’t out there in any respect,” Day mentioned, noting that’s very true for audiobooks.

Within the case of ebooks, there are restrictive library licensing fashions in place which can be set by the publishers, she mentioned.

READ MORE: Edmonton Public Library pushes publishers for decrease e book costs

Every of Canada’s “Large 5” publishers — Hachette Ebook Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random Home and Simon & Schuster — subscribe to the so-called one copy, one consumer mannequin that mirrors a bodily lending mannequin. Which means the e book ‘copy’ can solely be downloaded on one system at a time.

A few of these publishers even have extra restrictions. For instance, every copy of a Macmillan e book expires after 52 circulations or two years, whichever comes first, Day mentioned.

Watch: The Edmonton Public Library has joined a nationwide marketing campaign calling on publishers to decrease e-book costs. Fletcher Kent has extra on why the problem is such a priority. (April 2016)

Nevertheless, the issue isn’t essentially the mannequin however the value, she mentioned. Whereas a bodily e book may cost $22, it may value the library $100 for a duplicate of the digital model.

“We face excessively excessive costs and restrictive fashions for these ebooks,” she mentioned.

The value continues to rise when libraries buy a number of copies of an e book — and a number of types of the identical e book, together with onerous and delicate covers and audiobooks — in an effort to shorten waitlists.

READ MORE: Print gross sales in Canada nonetheless tops however ebooks surging past expectations

“It’s not a sustainable mannequin. We’re having bother ensuring we’ve all of the content material for our prospects that they wish to see,” Day mentioned.

Neither Audible nor the Large 5 publishers may instantly be reached for remark.

Watch: As soon as per week, for six weeks, Edmonton Public Library will make one part of ‘Etta and Otto and Russell and James’ out there in e-book type. As Emily Mertz tells us, EPL is hoping town will participate in an enormous, on-line e book membership expertise. (Oct. 2015)

Whereas demand for ebooks has levelled off within the total e book market, it continues to rise at libraries.

Ebooks made up 18 per cent of gross sales within the first half of 2018, in contrast with 20 per cent in 2017 and 17 per cent in 2016, figures collected from on-line and bodily retailers by BookNet Canada present.

Audiobooks made up 4 per cent of all reported purchases, up from two per cent in 2017 and three per cent in 2016, BookNet Canada mentioned.

READ MORE: In age of ebooks and good telephones Canadian libraries extra widespread

Day mentioned that on the Edmonton Public Library, the place she is director of department providers and collections, e book demand is rising by about 20 per cent per yr. And demand for audiobooks on the six greatest libraries in Canada grew by 82 per cent over the previous three years, she mentioned.

Day mentioned libraries aren’t searching for a handout — only a extra honest deal that balances the significance of compensating authors with offering democratic entry to the content material.

“It’s our core mandate to supply common entry to data for everybody in a society,” she mentioned.

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