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Canadian Libraries Need Your Help for #eContentForLibraries

I rely heavily on libraries to get the books that I read. They aren’t cheap here and the amount of books I’m able to read and review is heavily influenced by what’s made available through the library system. Toronto’s library is well-funded, so I couldn’t understand why there were so few digital copies of really popular books.

And now, after doing a little bit of research on it, I can understand why.

Basically, the international book publishers are throttling libraries by charging them more for digital copies than regular ones.

Sometimes, the cost of ebooks for libraries can be tripled.

In theory, I can understand them charging a little bit more. Digital copies won’t break down or need to be replaced. They can’t be lost either and there’s probably going to be more people reading them within their lifetime.

However, the pricing for the digital copies can be two to three times higher than the regular price of a book. And for those of you who aren’t from here, books are expensive in Canada. Already the price of a book here can be two to three times more expensive than it would be in the United States.

American versus Canadian Book Pricing

Even when you take into consideration the currency differences, books are too expensive here. I break it down further in my post on 7 Ways to get Free Ebooks Legally.

Now take that already inflated book price and double or triple it again. That’s what Canadian libraries are paying for digital copies of books. It’s obscene.

It’s bad enough that the prices are jacked up for individual consumers, but to have our libraries, which are essential in the promotion of literacy for all children, being taken advantage of like this is disgusting.

I want to just go up to the publishers and shake them because online borrowing programs are what help drop piracy. If you get greedy, then people will turn to pirating rather than legal means. It’s convenience and availability that determine whether or not people are going to start pirating books, movies, and music.

Two Kinds of Truth Physical Versus Library Digital

We’re already seeing the beginnings of this on the streaming side. With so many new streaming services coming out and Disney desperately trying to jump on that bandwagon as well, piracy went up for the first time in years. And the reason for that is that publishers (of all media, not just books) are trying to wring every last dollar that they can out of their products.

And fine. That’s your right to do so. It’s not consumer friendly, but it’s your right.

But when it comes to library services, putting that added burden on libraries is just disgusting to me. Libraries are the great equalizers. It’s where people are able to get books regardless of their paycheque and by jacking up the price of digital copies, the publishers are sending a message that they’ve already sent with their Canadian pricing of books.

Canadian Libraries Can't Get Ebooks

Whether they mean to or not, they’re saying reading isn’t for everyone. They’re screaming with their prices that books are not something that everyone can afford and enjoy.

And it makes me furious.

If you want to know more about the situation and what you can do to help Canadian libraries, go to eContentforlibraries.org to learn more.

And please contact the publishers, using the #eContentforlibraries. I doubt it’s only Canadian libraries that are facing this problem.

4 thoughts on “Canadian Libraries Need Your Help for #eContentForLibraries

  1. Anthea says:

    I’m going to take a guess and say this is why Australian libraries have so few new books. That’s ridiculous that publishers wouldn’t give libraries discounts. They are publicly funded (vast majority of the time) and encourage people to read. Which means in the long run, publishers will earn more when those children and young adults get to a point where they can afford to buy books rather than always borrowing them. That sucks 😔

    • trulybooked says:

      I was wondering if there were other places in the world that was having this problem. I don’t understand why they put the price so high other than greed. I get wanting a recurring revenue stream, but there are so many other ways they could do it.

      They could rent it out for physical copy price and then in two years charge again if the libraries wanted the copy still, so it mimics the wear and tear of a regular book, for example.

      Instead, it feels like they’re just chasing the biggest amount of revenue possible up front which is heinous, especially for a digital copy which doesn’t require binding or reprinting.

      I think it’s pretty short-sighted, especially since a lot of the buzz I’ve heard around books comes from people who read them at a library. Then, because I’ve heard about it, I go out and buy a copy.

  2. Haley says:

    I never realized that but I often grumbled about the cost of digital books on Amazon (I mean fair enough they have to charge something, but MORE than the physical book? Get outta here!) as far as Amazon goes though, there are laws trying to be put in place to keep them from skyrocketing digital books, I wonder if the same thing can’t be done for publishers? I’m glad you brought this to light though about [Canadian] libraries and will certainly be looking into this more! Great post!

    • trulybooked says:

      Haha, I’ve done the same thing. I get paying a decent amount for a digital copy, I want to give the author their due. But I have no idea why it’s so much more expensive than I feel it should be sometimes.

      I think the laws would vary country to country. Maybe the States have laws which would prevent publishers from gouging the libraries, but Canada doesn’t.

      Thank you! I just want to get the word out there since libraries are integral.

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