Systemic problem with ebooks, say Irish libraries

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There is a 'systemic problem' with the provision of ebooks to libraries, according to the Library Association of Ireland (LAI).

Last week (29 January) the association hosted a booked-out online seminar to discuss the ebooks crisis.  In recent years the price of ebooks have soared by up to 400% while publishers have also applied increasingly onerous terms and conditions. Concern about this and other issues led to the establishment of the #ebookSOS campaign in the UK. 

Speaking at the seminar campaign founder, Yohanna Anderson, said: 'It is clear that libraries in Ireland are facing the same problems we have in the UK - scandalous increases in the costs of eBooks, restrictive licensing terms, and a lack of availability all create a crisis for the sector and reduce the ability of libraries to meet their users’ needs. Urgent action needs to be taken by competition regulators to investigate this situation and ensure the eBook market for libraries is fair.'

LAI President Cathal McCauley explained: 'During the seminar we heard from speakers from Ireland and around the world. While the importance and benefits of ebooks are acknowledged it is clear that there is a systemic problem with the way ebooks are provided.  We need to work with librarians, policy-makers and other stakeholders to ensure a more equitable and sustainable approach to ebooks.' 

In July Dublin will host the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) World Information and Library Congress (WLIC) which will see more than 1,000+ librarians from all over the world come to Ireland to discuss this and other library and information related issue.  The seminar is the latest step in Irish librarians’ campaign to highlight the issues with ebooks and to raise awareness of these problems ahead of the Congress.