Edmonton Public Library pushes publishers for lower e-book prices

WATCH ABOVE: The Edmonton Public Library has joined a national campaign calling on publishers to lower e-book prices. Fletcher Kent has more on why the issue is such a concern.

EDMONTON – The Edmonton Public Library has joined forces with a number of libraries across the country to push publishers to lower the price libraries pay for e-books.

Some multinational publishers charge libraries as much as three to five times more for e-books than consumers pay. Other put caps and time limits on use, the EPL said.

“The cost differential of e-books is a challenge for libraries across the country,” Sharon Karr, EPL’s manager of collections management & access, said.

Karr said EPL’s e-book usage was up 19 per cent in 2015 and electronic borrowing was up 33 per cent overall last year.

“The demand is there and growing, and we want to be able to continue to provide for our customers.”

Canadian Public Libraries for Fair eBook Pricing wrote an open letter to several major publishers including Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster in hopes of convincing them to lower prices.

“With the open letter, libraries are advocating for a pricing model that introduces fairness and flexibility, specifically a hybrid of existing pricing models that would offer libraries of all sizes the ability to buy the number of copies and also the type of copies that meet their needs,” the EPL said.

Penguin Random House recently announced reduced e-book prices for libraries, a move welcomed by public libraries across Canada.

A Twitter chat on e-book pricing was held Thursday. Those who support lowering e-book prices for Canadian libraries used the hashtag #FairEbookPrices.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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