Public libraries, unhappy over what they view as high prices and stringent terms for e-books to lend their patrons, picked up an ally in their ongoing battle with publishers: the National League of Cities (NLC), which represents some 19,000 cities and towns across the U.S.
The NLC recently issued a press release backing the efforts of public libraries to pressure publishers into making more e-books available for library loans, allowing libraries to purchase e-books outright rather than license them, and reducing prices charged to libraries, which are typically higher than consumer retail prices.
Library organizations, especially the American Library Association, have been waging a campaign to stir up grass-roots support for their ability to acquire and lend e-book titles. While the campaign mainly involves community libraries, academic libraries are watching the response. The league’s endorsement included kudos to several governmental bodies that passed legislation calling for investigations into publishers’ e-book policies for libraries.
“City officials can protect the library’s function to provide access to e-books and other materials by encouraging oversight on publishers’ licensing practices,” said the release. “That can mean adopting resolutions like that developed in Montgomery County, MD, or urging their state legislators, Congress, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission to look into the unfair e-books policies.”