In the majority of cases libraries no longer own their eBook collections – and unless there is much needed reform they never will. As publishers have abandoned copyright law in favour of choosing whether to lease digital content to libraries (or not), age-old practices undertaken in the public interest are brought into question. These include important activities such as common access irrespective of an individual’s financial position, collection development, teaching, preservation and cultural heritage.
When books are not available to readers from libraries, authorship is also undermined. Libraries are places that encourage reading, research and intellectual exploration, and less access to materials from libraries impacts on an author’s capacity to create new works and for their works to be discovered. Moreover, they will have no guarantee that their own works will be available to new readers when publishers no longer find them commercially viable to keep “in print” on eBook platforms.
Recently, John Wiley & Sons made headlines internationally when it abruptly removed over 1,300 ebooks from academic library collections just as the new academic year was starting. This created extra costs for students, libraries and educators as they hurriedly tried to reconfigure reading lists and teaching plans as well as purchase replacement titles. Unsurprisingly the disruption Wiley caused universities was widely condemned by library groups, students and authors alike.
In the face of widespread pressure, at the start of October, Wiley made headlines again when it announced it was restoring access, but only until June 2023. While a welcome respite from one publisher, this however changes little as high pricing, refusal to license, bundling, removal of titles with no notice and other issues remain the norm for eBook markets.
This webinar will discuss the eBook crisis libraries, educators and authors face with international thought leaders in the sector. Exploring the many issues that have arisen as collections are increasingly leased and not owned, the session will take the form of a wide-ranging interview and discussion with our panellists.
Questions will also be welcome from attendees.
Caroline Ball Co-founder of eBookSOS / Academic Librarian, University of Derby / Trustee, WikimediaUK
Mikkel Christoffersen Chief Consultant, Copenhagen Libraries
Dave Hansen Executive Director, Authors Alliance
Cathal McCauley President of the Library Association of Ireland / University Librarian, Maynooth University
DATE: 21st November 2022
TIME: 14:00 – 15:30 CET | 13:00 – 14:30 GMT/UTC