[Libs-Or] Fwd: [alacoun] New Open Letter to publishers re ebook issue

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 24 10:55:53 PDT 2012


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Molly Raphael <mraphael at rapgroup.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 8:09 AM
Subject: [alacoun] New Open Letter to publishers re ebook issue
To: ALA Council <alacoun at ala.org>

Dear Colleagues,

We wanted to be sure that you saw President Maureen Sullivan's open letter
to America's publishers just issued today on the ebooks and libraries. The
link as well as the text are pasted below.

In addition, Maureen will be speaking to publishers at an AAP meeting in
NYC on Thursday; and ALA leadership  including Maureen, Barbara Stripling
(President-elect), Robert Wolven (DC&LWG co-chair), Alan Inouye (OITP
Director), and I will be meeting with several publishers in NYC at the end
of this week.


ALA Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 24, 2012

Contact: Jazzy Wright <http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/user/460>
An open letter to America's publishers from ALA President Maureen Sullivan

CHICAGO -- The following open letter was released by American Library
Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan regarding Simon & Schuster,
Macmillan, and Penguin refusal to provide access to their e-books in

The open letter states:

It's a rare thing in a free market when a customer is refused the ability
to buy a company's product and is told its money is "no good here."
Surprisingly, after centuries of enthusiastically supporting publishers'
products, libraries find themselves in just that position with purchasing
e-books from three of the largest publishers in the world. Simon
&Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin have been denying access to their
for our nation's 112,000 libraries and roughly 169 million public library

Let's be clear on what this means: If our libraries' digital bookshelves
mirrored the *New York Times* fiction best-seller list, we would be missing
*half* of our collection any given week due to these publishers' policies.
The popular "Bared to You" and "The Glass Castle" are not available in
libraries because libraries cannot purchase them at any price. Today's
teens also will not find the digital copy of Judy Blume's seminal "Forever*,
*" nor today's blockbuster "Hunger Games" series.

Not all publishers are following the path of these three publishers. In
fact, hundreds of publishers of e-books have embraced the opportunity to
create new sales and reach readers through our nation's libraries. One
recent innovation allows library patrons to immediately purchase an e-book
if the library doesn't have a copy or if there is a wait list they would
like to avoid. This offers a win-win relationship for both publishers and
library users since recent research from the Pew Internet Project tells us
that library users are more than twice as likely to have bought their most
recent book as to have borrowed it from a library.

Libraries around the country are developing mobile applications and online
discovery systems that make it easier to explore books and authors on the
go. Seventy-six percent of public libraries now offer e-books -- double the
number from only five years ago -- and 39 percent of libraries have
purchased and circulate e-readers. Public libraries alone spend more than
$1.3 billion annually on their collections of print, audio, video, and
electronic materials. They are investing not only in access to content and
devices, but also in teaching the skills needed to navigate and utilize
digital content successfully.

Librarians understand that publishing is not just another industry. It has
special and important significance to society. Libraries complement and, in
fact, actively support this industry by supporting literacy and seeking to
spread an infectious and lifelong love of reading and learning. Library
lending encourages patrons to experiment by sampling new authors, topics
and genres. This experimentation stimulates the market for books, with the
library serving as a de facto discovery, promotion and awareness service
for authors and publishers.

Publishers, libraries and other entities have worked together for centuries
to sustain a healthy reading ecosystem -- celebrating our society's access
to the complete marketplace of ideas. Given the obvious value of libraries
to publishers, it simply does not add up that any publisher would continue
to lock out libraries. It doesn't add up for me, it doesn't add up for ALA's
60,000 members, and it *definitely* doesn't add up for the millions of
people who use our libraries every month.

America's libraries have always served as the "people's university" by
providing access to reading materials and educational opportunity for the
millions who want to read and learn but cannot afford to buy the books they
need. Librarians have a particular concern for vulnerable populations that
may not have any other access to books and electronic content, including
individuals and families who are homebound or low-income. To deny these
library users access to e-books that are available to others -- and which
libraries are eager to purchase on their behalf -- is discriminatory.

We have met and talked sincerely with many of these publishers. We have
sought common ground by exploring new business models and library lending
practices. But these conversations only matter if they are followed by
action: Simon & Schuster must sell to libraries. Macmillan must implement
its proposed pilot. Penguin must accelerate and expand its pilots beyond
two urban New York libraries.

We librarians cannot stand by and do nothing while some publishers deepen
the digital divide. We cannot wait passively while some publishers deny
access to our cultural record. We must speak out on behalf of today's -- and
tomorrow's -- readers.The library community demands meaningful change and
creative solutions that serve libraries and our readers who rightfully
expect the same access to e-books as they have to printed books.

So, which side will you be on? Will you join us in a future of liberating
literature for all? Libraries stand with readers, thinkers, writers,
dreamers and inventors. Books and knowledge -- in all their forms -- are
essential. Access to them must not be denied.


*Molly Raphael*
*Immediate Past President*
*American Library Association*
*mraphael at rapgroup.com*

*Diedre Conkling**
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR 97365
Phone & Fax: 541-265-3066
Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude."--Maya Angelou
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