Librarians head to DfE headquarters to protest ebook pricing

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Johanna Anderson

Yohanna Anderson, founder of #ebooksos, is heading to London on 11 July to protest outside the Department of Education (DfE) headquarters and calls on librarians, academics and students to join her.

For more than two years #ebooksos has been campaigning to secure a full investigation into the ebook market by the Education Select Committee and the Competition and Market Authority, following price rises of up to 500 per cent and increasingly restrictive licencing of ebooks to libraries.

As reported in Research Information, #ebooksos has campaigned to raise the profile of the ebook crisis to MPs, the Higher Education Minister, members of the House of Lords, Government officials and the national and international media. Lead campaigners have successfully won the backing of professional bodies, unions, consortia, and nearly 5,000 individuals including academics and students.

In May 2021, #ebooksos campaign leaders were invited to assist a DfE policy adviser in his research for a briefing report that had been requested by the HE Minister. The group report that 'with dismay and bewilderment', via a Freedom of Information request, it learnt that the DfE is holding a ebook roundtable 'stakeholder' meeting – but that no #ebooksos representatives have been invited. When challenged on the exclusion of the group, the DfE responded that the aim of the meeting is to discuss "solutions" and therefore #ebooksos input is not needed. The full communication can be viewed at:

Anderson said: '#ebooksos is perplexed that DfE believe that lasting solutions can be found without the inclusion of all stakeholders. We have not worked this hard to get this issue onto the agenda of policy makers only to be snubbed and silenced now.'

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