Statement: Sen Wyden & Rep Eshoo’s letter on ebook terms for schools & libraries

Posted September 23, 2021, 10:01 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2021

The following statement on Sen Wyden and Rep Eshoo’s letter to Big 5 publishers on ebook terms for schools and libraries can be attributed to Lia Holland (she/they) Campaigns and Communications Director at Fight for the Future.

“We are thrilled to see legislators taking action for the public’s right to own and preserve all books, no matter what form they are published in. With so much of our lives happening online, the opportunity to own digital books is almost nonexistent—a stark and concerning departure from how our society interacts with paper books.

Through restrictive and expensive licensing schemes on ebooks and audiobooks, publishers are acting against the best interest of authors by reducing the number of titles that libraries and schools are allowed to offer and preserve. This often means that the most successful and mainstream books are the only ones purchased, locking many authors out of income from library purchases as well as away from the vast audiences of readers that public institutions serve. We hope that legislators will take swift action to ensure perpetual access to knowledge and diverse voices for everyone.

Even readers with vast personal collections of e- and audio- books should be alarmed, as most ebooks and audiobooks are also merely licensed to those who believe they are “buying” them, leaving the door open for publishers and big tech companies like Amazon to later erase books, as well as alter what they say, down the line.“