A while ago I wrote On Libraries, Publishers and E-Books, which lamented the decision of the big six publishers to withhold their ebooks from the library market. Libraries are willing buyers of ebooks, and we have a huge customer demand, but we cannot buy The Hunger Games in ebook format because Scholastic won’t sell it to us. The fact that not all publishers are willing to sell to us leads to weird gaps in our collection. The public may well wonder why we have books 17 and 18 of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series in ebook format, but not any of the preceding sixteen novels. The answer is that Smokin’ Seventeen and Explosive Eighteen are published by Bantam, which sells to libraries. The other sixteen books were published by MacMillan, which does not.
Well, now the Public Library of Topeka and Shawnee County has taken a stand. They have started an online petition called: ebooks for libraries asking publishers to reconsider. Library users often purchase the books they borrow. They use the library to discover new authors and to sample new things. If you’re a book lover, please sign it. Please share it. If publishers sell to libraries, everyone benefits — including the publishers.