Top Libraries in U.S. and Canada Issue Statement Demanding Better Ebook Services
Over 70 library systems from the United States and Canada — including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Toronto, and Chicago — today issued a joint statement demanding vastly improved ebook services for library users in North America.
The statement, dubbed the ReadersFirst Initiative, outlines four principles the libraries want e-content providers — the middlemen between publishers and libraries — to follow in order to lift content restrictions and also make the borrowing experience less cumbersome.
“Libraries have a responsibility to fight for the public and ensure that users have the same open, easy and free access to ebooks that they have come to rely on with physical books,” the statement reads. “They face two major challenges. The first is that, unlike print books, publishers are not required to sell e-books to libraries – and many do not. This is a complex and evolving issue. The second, addressed here, is that the products currently offered by e-content distributors, the middlemen from whom libraries buy ebooks, create a fragmented, disjointed and cumbersome user experience.”