Libraries are fighting a rule change that's shaking up the e-book industry

Published: Aug. 13, 2019 at 5:23 PM EDT
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A rule change by a major book publisher is shaking up the e-book industry. Libraries are fighting back by spreading the word, and hoping readers get mad too.

Starting in November, Macmillan Publishers will only let libraries buy one digital copy of a popular book initially, which will mean a long wait for the book, and frustration for libraries.

Last year, 2.5 million traditional books were checked out of the Toledo Library. However, there is a growing demand for digital content. Last year, customers checked out nearly 500,000 e-books from Toledo Library and just over 250,000 audiobooks. Library leaders say e-book circulation has increased up to 10% every month.

Providing that digital content is challenging for libraries on a number of levels. For starters, it is an expensive venture. Libraries pay 3-4 times what they would for a print title, and often they only get it for two years before having to renew.

Because of the limited number of e-books, the wait can be very long. Library leaders say customers often get frustrated, and don't understand why they do not have immediate access to a book.

This is an issue facing libraries around the country.