About

This site aims to collect the advocacy and outreach efforts, research, and initiatives of libraries and library organisations relating to the supply of ebooks to libraries and library patrons. It is maintained by the Policy & Research team at the State Library of Western Australia.

Both libraries and publishers are struggling to find a satisfactory model for the supply of ebooks to libraries and library patrons. Some publishers refuse to sell ebooks to libraries at all, while others will only do so at prices and conditions vastly different to consumer sales. Many libraries and organisations are lobbying for stronger representation, better deals and new ways of working to address the challenges presented by ebooks.

The material collected falls into six categories:

Direct advocacy
Direct advocacy generally takes the form of meeting with and lobbying publishers, distributors and government representatives, encouraging members of the public to do the same, or creating petitions. However, there is also some work being done in creating public awareness of the issues facing libraries.

Initiatives
Some libraries or organisations have taken matters into their own hands and developed their own platforms or lending services, although these seem to be most successful when they cover distinct national or linguistic domains, or otherwise don’t involve the big English-language publishing houses.

Government
Action taken by governments relating to ebooks and e-lending in libraries. Generally these are high-level reviews, undertaken by appointed committees rather than government officers, of ebooks and e-lending in libraries and e-publishing and the survival of national publishing industries more generally. These reviews tend to approach the issues from a legislative, public policy or economic perspective. Also included is legislative action (or attempted legislative action) undertaken by governments.

White papers
Reports and papers, generally put out by peak bodies, professional organisations, research units or individual libraries, which describe the current situation, offer analysis or recommendations (either generally or for specific initiatives) or provide information to support decision-making.

Position papers
Papers from peak bodies, professional organisations and libraries on their own positions and ideals regarding ebooks and e-lending in libraries.

Research
Research projects and research outputs that provide (or aim to provide) an evidence base to draw on in addressing the challenges of ebooks in libraries.

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