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All SPL locations will be closed Monday, May 20 for Victoria Day. View all holiday closures here.

Jan 17, 2019

We’re calling on publishers to make more digital content available to libraries

Urban library systems across Canada are joining together to call on multinational publishers to make digital content more accessible and affordable.

The Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) has noted that while demand for eBooks and eAudiobooks has skyrocketed in recent years, many best-selling titles —including many prominent Indigenous and Canadian-based authored works— are not available to Canadian public libraries. Even when they are available, the prices are often excessively high.

Libraries lend digital copies just like physical books, on a one-to-one basis. This is done through third-party service providers, such as cloudLibrary and OverDrive. However, libraries pay exponentially higher prices for digital titles than physical ones. Prices of digital copies are often three to four times higher, and many popular titles are not made available in Canada at all.

Despite these barriers, digital content usage rates continue to increase amongst library patrons. At SPL alone, eBook downloads increased 14% over 2016 and 2017, and eAudiobook downloads increased a whopping 75%. Stats for 2018 have not yet been tabulated.

We are joining CULC in asking Canadians to help resolved these issues by demanding stronger #eContentForLibraries of major multinational publishers, namely: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Sime & Schuster.