Update: Library E-Book Lending Legislation and Partnerships | Authors Alliance

“Over the course of the past year, three state legislatures have introduced legislation that would impose limits on a publisher’s ability to sell e-books to libraries at a high cost. Under the current licensing model, libraries can pay as much as $60 per title for an e-book license, which often have very restrictive terms, whereas consumers can purchase an e-book license for the same title at a fraction of the cost. The first of these bills was passed in Maryland, and the New York state legislature has also recently approved the New York bill. A bill in Rhode Island is currently pending. Additionally, groups in Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, and Washington have reportedly begun advocating for similar legislation. …”

Amazon Publishing Partners with DPLA to Share Content — Readers First

“The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) released important library digital content news today:

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is pleased to announce that we have signed an agreement with Amazon Publishing to make all of the approximately 10,000 Amazon Publishing ebooks and audiobooks available to libraries and their patrons through the DPLA Exchange, the only not-for-profit, library-centered content marketplace. This marks the first time that ebooks from Amazon Publishing have been made available to libraries. Like our previous publisher arrangements, this agreement furthers our mission to expand equitable access to ebooks and audiobooks while protecting library patron privacy.

Amazon Publishing titles will begin to be available in the DPLA Exchange via four licensing models this summer; we expect that libraries will be able to access all of the Amazon Publishing titles by the end of the year:

Unlimited, one user at a time access, two-year license

Bundles of 40 lends, available with a maximum of 10 simultaneously, with no time limit to use the lends

Bundles of five lends, available simultaneously, with no time limit to use the lends

26 lends, one user at a time access, the lesser of two years or 26 lends license …”

Amazon’s Refusal To Let Libraries Lend Ebooks Shows Why Controlled Digital Lending Is So Important | Techdirt

The Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler recently had a very interesting article about how Amazon won’t allow the ebooks it publishes to be lent out from libraries. As someone who regularly borrows ebooks from my local libraries, I find this disappointing — especially since, as Fowler notes, Amazon really is the company that made ebooks popular. But, when it comes to libraries, Amazon won’t let libraries lend those ebooks out:

When authors sign up with a publisher, it decides how to distribute their work. With other big publishers, selling e-books and audiobooks to libraries is part of the mix — that’s why you’re able to digitally check out bestsellers like Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land.” Amazon is the only big publisher that flat-out blocks library digital collections. Search your local library’s website, and you won’t find recent e-books by Amazon authors Kaling, Dean Koontz or Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Nor will you find downloadable audiobooks for Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime,” Andy Weir’s “The Martian” and Michael Pollan’s “Caffeine.”

I’ve seen a lot of people responding to this article with anger towards Amazon, which is understandable. I do hope Amazon changes this policy. But there’s a much bigger culprit here: our broken copyright laws. In the physical world, this kind of thing isn’t a problem. If a library wants to lend out a book, it doesn’t need the publisher’s permission. It can just buy a copy and start lending it out. Fowler’s correct that a publisher does get to decide how it wants to distribute a work, but with physical books, there’s the important first sale doctrine, which lets anyone who buys a book go on and resell it. And that meant that in the past, libraries have never needed “permission” to lend out a book. They just needed to buy it.

Unfortunately, courts seem to take a dim view of the first sale doctrine when it comes to digital goods.

Amazon’s monopoly is squeezing your public library, too – The Washington Post

“Turns out, the tech giant [Amazon] has also become a publishing powerhouse — and it won’t sell downloadable versions of its more than 10,000 e-books or tens of thousands of audiobooks to libraries. That’s right, for a decade, the company that killed bookstores has been starving the reading institution that cares for kids, the needy and the curious. And that’s turned into a mission-critical problem during a pandemic that cut off physical access to libraries and left a lot of people unable to afford books on their own….

Amazon is the only big publisher that flat-out blocks library digital collections. …

In testimony to Congress, the American Library Association called digital sales bans like Amazon’s “the worst obstacle for libraries” moving into the 21st century….

“All books in all formats should be available through libraries. Authors want their books available through libraries,” Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild, told me….”

 

Amazon’s monopoly is squeezing your public library, too – The Washington Post

“Turns out, the tech giant [Amazon] has also become a publishing powerhouse — and it won’t sell downloadable versions of its more than 10,000 e-books or tens of thousands of audiobooks to libraries. That’s right, for a decade, the company that killed bookstores has been starving the reading institution that cares for kids, the needy and the curious. And that’s turned into a mission-critical problem during a pandemic that cut off physical access to libraries and left a lot of people unable to afford books on their own….

Amazon is the only big publisher that flat-out blocks library digital collections. …

In testimony to Congress, the American Library Association called digital sales bans like Amazon’s “the worst obstacle for libraries” moving into the 21st century….

“All books in all formats should be available through libraries. Authors want their books available through libraries,” Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild, told me….”

 

Fight for the Future – News – 2021-02-24-new-tool-shows-how-amazon-and-other-book

“WhoCanGetYourBook.com offers letter grades in accessibility and availability for books, laying bare prohibitive licensing costs, exclusive deals such as Amazon’s Audible Originals, and usability concerns that are keeping popular books out of the hands of our nation’s most-vulnerable readers….

The ‘Who can get your book?’ quiz offers authors and publishers a letter grade, granting one point for each equitable decision in how a book is released. For example, Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime receives a letter grade of D, based on the memoir’s lack of availability in audiobook format due to an exclusive with Amazon’s Audible—as well as restrictive licensing agreements for the ebook.

 

Access issues with audiobooks in particular don’t stop there. Despite an orientation to equity of access and rare download-and-own options for ebooks, PM Press’ Pictures Of A Gone City still received a C grade because the audiobook they paid to produce via Amazon’s ACX Services is only available on Audible….”

 

Ph.D. graduates of British university complain about dissertations published by Amazon

“Scholars at a British university have condemned “unlawful” attempts to sell their Ph.D. theses without permission on Amazon’s Kindle service.

The outcry follows the discovery by academics who did their doctoral studies at Durham University that their Ph.D. dissertations had been scraped from the university’s online thesis repository, where they are freely available, and were being sold as individual titles for as much as 9.99 pounds ($13.68).

 

Around 2,000 Ph.D. theses — many of which appeared under the authorship of “Durham Philosophy” — had been made available as Kindle ebooks, according to Sarah Hughes, vice chancellor’s research fellow in human geography at Northumbria University….”

Amazon working on new system to license ebooks to public libraries – Good e-Reader

“Amazon has generally been reluctant to allow libraries to have access to its ebooks, preferring instead to make those available via its own Kindle ebook store. Public advocacy groups and libraries however have taken strong exception to this and are demanding easy availability of the Amazon titles via libraries to allow the public to have easy access to the information contained therein.

Fortunately for book lovers, Amazon indicated it is deliberating licensing its digital titles to libraries though any concrete development on this is yet to be seen on the ground. The Hill however did confirm the Digital Public Library of America is discussing with Amazon Publishing on this though no one knows for sure how soon we can see the content being available in public libraries.

Michele Kimpton, director of business development and senior strategist for the Digital Public Library of America also confirmed to Publisher’s Weekly they have been discussing this with Amazon Publishing and that the talks have been going on since spring. Kimpton however said they have made good progress on this so far so that the Amazon titles can well be seen in libraries on the DPLA exchange by early 2021 itself. That said, some outstanding issues still remain and are being worked upon….”

Amazon Publishing in Talks to Offer E-books to Public Libraries

“The potential deal would be a breakthrough moment in the library e-book market as Amazon currently does not make its digital content available to libraries. It would also be a major coup for the Digital Public Library of America’s upstart e-book platform and its SimplyE library reading app….”

 

 

Amazon under pressure to lift ban on e-book library sales | TheHill

“Amazon’s refusal to sell e-books published in-house to libraries is sparking backlash as demand for digital content spikes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Librarians and advocacy groups are pushing for the tech giant to license its published e-books to libraries for distribution, arguing the company’s self-imposed ban significantly decreases public access to information.

“You shouldn’t have to have a credit card in order to be an informed citizen,” Michael Blackwell, director of St. Mary’s County Library in Maryland, told The Hill. “It’s vital that books continue to be a source of information and that those books should be democratically discovered through libraries.”

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A petition launched last week by Fight for the Future, a tech advocacy group, calls for Congress to pursue an antitrust investigation and legislative action against Amazon for its ban on selling e-books to libraries. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had nearly 13,000 signatures….

Amazon has indicated it is in discussions to allow its e-books to be licensed by libraries, but so far the public institutions are unable to access Amazon’s digital titles.

Issues surrounding library e-books go beyond Amazon. Traditional publishers have become increasingly restrictive regarding e-books, Blackwell said, but they at least offer options for libraries to license and distribute those books.

The crux of the issue is how e-books are sold. Whereas libraries can lend out physical copies of purchased books for as long as they hold up, libraries must adhere to licensing agreements that constrain how long they can keep e-books in circulation.

The top publishing firms typically have two-year licensing contacts for library e-books, with options to extend for another two years, said Alan S. Inouye, senior director of public policy and government relations at the American Library Association.

But unlike their traditional publishing peers, Amazon does not allow libraries to purchase the e-books it publishes, leaving no option for libraries to access what Amazon says is “over 1 million digital titles” that consumers “won’t find anywhere else.”…”

Do Publishers Suddenly Hate Libraries?

” In a memo to authors and agents last month, Macmillan CEO John Sargent all but blamed libraries for depressing book sales and author earnings. “Historically, we have been able to balance the great importance of libraries with the value of your work,” Sargent claimed. “The current e-lending system does not do that.”

I’m far from the first to observe this, but the claims in Sargent’s memo are questionable at best….

Do publishers and authors see the library’s relationship to them as more symbiotic, or parasitic?…”

There are dark hints that the hand of Amazon is at work in the current tensions over library e-book lending, including reports that Amazon reps have been showing publishers data to portray library e-book lending in a negative light….”

Permafree on Amazon: How and Why to Give Your Book Away, Plus My Results – Side Hustle Nation

“Why go through all the trouble of writing a book, only to give it away?

Answer: To build an audience.

As we’ve seen in case study after case study, doing business online becomes much easier and much more profitable if you have a built-in audience who loves your work.

I made the case that having a “permafree” book on Amazon is the equivalent of guest blogging on steroids. It’s one of the most highly-trafficked sites in the world, which means the potential to get tens of thousands of eyeballs on your book. You’ll never find a bigger “guest posting” opportunity.

And like a good guest post, your free book can lead people back to your site to learn more about you and opt-in for additional useful content….”