Why can’t libraries lend ebooks? European-wide petition calls for change

As World Book Night returns for its annual celebration of books and reading on 23 April, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and European counterparts EBLIDA have announced a European-wide petition calling for changes to copyright law so public libraries have the same right to lend ebooks as they do printed books.

Current European copyright law means that publishers do not need to license libraries to lend ebooks and 85% of all ebook titles are not available through UK public libraries. However ebook sales comprised almost a third of the total UK book market in 2013 and recent research published by Shelf Free shows that of the 50 most borrowed print books from libraries in February 2014, 45 have been published in ebook format but only 3 of these have been made available to libraries.

Annie Mauger, CILIP Chief Executive said: “World Book Night is a global expression of all that is good about books and reading. But as a society we increasingly expect to access services and information remotely via digital and electronic formats. The latest book sales and lending statistics reveal the extent to which libraries are being disadvantaged and left to fall behind what is an enormously significant trend around the nature of books and reading habits.”

“Our members working within the public library service and across the information professions tell us that current copyright law fails libraries by not letting them contribute fully to public reading trends. Our public libraries deserve to be front and centre within the online environment and must be able to offer a full ebook portfolio if they are to capture their future communities and continue to promote and nurture a love of reading amongst a public that is increasingly moving online.”

“It would be a complete travesty for libraries to be left behind because they cannot serve changing reading patterns, and that is why this petition is so important.”


Press contact:

Cat Cooper, Communications and Campaigns Manager,CILIP
Tel: 020 7255 0653
Email: cat.cooper@cilip.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. CILIP’s vision is a fair and economically prosperous society underpinned by literacy, access to information and the transfer of knowledge. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014. Visit www.cilip.org.uk for more information.

2. Infographic pictures (2) of current lending landscape in UK public libraries: http://www.cilip.org.uk/sites/default/files/open_library/infographic-let-libraries-lend-ebooks.jpg

and http://www.cilip.org.uk/sites/default/files/open_library/infographic-let-libraries-lend-ebooks-2.jpg

3. CILIP ‘Let libraries lend ebooks campaign’: http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/advocacy-campaigns-awards/advocacy-campaigns/ebooks/ebooks-right-e-read

4. The European-wide campaign and petition for changes to European Copyright Law to facilitate the right to e-read is organised by the European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA):


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