Public advocacy on e-book lending from Shelf Free

Public advocacy on e-book lending from Shelf Free

Library group Shelf Free, which advocates for greater e-book lending in public libraries, has put forward a statement for libraries to display explaining the issues around e-book lending to library users.

It also calls on publishers to work with libraries to increase the level of e-book lending.

The group, made up of representatives from 19 public library authorities as well as groups including CILIP, said libraries "should be explaining to their customers and to their elected members why the range of e-book lending titles we have to offer is not as good as it could be."

Following the publication of the Sieghart Review and the subsequent steps to create e-lending pilot programmes, the group has created a statement highlighting some of the issues around e-lending.

The statement, posted on its website, said "our ability to provide a range of e-books has been severely limited... of the top 50 bestselling e-books last year 85% of them were not made available by publishers for libraries to provide."

The statement acknowledges that publishers 'have good reason to be cautious' but describes the current situation as "untenable".

After outlining the recommendations of the Sieghart Review, which calls for free e-book lending, with remote access, and frictions that emulate print lending, it adds: "Public Libraries are committed to work with publishers on the basis of these recommendations to set up pilots in 2013 to test the detail of business models. We firmly believe that libraries can work together with publishers and booksellers to build the e-book marketplace and that we have unique contributions to make. We fully acknowledge the immense support publishers have given libraries in the past and their present good will and desire to find practical solutions. We call on all publishers to work with us to ensure that a full range of published e-books is made available to library customers in future."

Shelf Free hopes libraries will display the statement, and encourage users to make their make their views known to their local authority.