Libraries take on digital giants

The librarians in the USA are fighting back, Conan the Librarian-style. The ALA is denouncing Amazon, et al, for their digital practices.

“Unfair behavior by digital market actors—and the outdated policies that have enabled them—is doing concrete harm to libraries as consumers in digital markets,” the response reads. “Libraries are prepared to pay a fair price for fair services; in fact, over the past ten years, libraries have spent over $40 billion acquiring [all] content. But abuse of the market position by dominant actors in digital markets is impeding essential library activities that are necessary to ensure that all Americans have access to information, both today and for posterity.”

The report explains that ebooks have become almost 20 percent of the U.S. book market, but libraries face major barriers to providing this content to patrons. Notably, Amazon Publishing now ranks as the fifth largest publisher of ebooks by dollar sales, yet the company refuses to license any of its digital content to libraries, at any price. Macmillan’s pending eight-week embargo on new ebook sales to libraries is also raised, as is “abusive pricing” of library ebook licenses by many publishers.

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