Core Ebooks Interest Group

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Purpose: Provides a regular forum for discussion and to meet at Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings. Core represents a large segment of libraries and can be influential with publishers and vendors to benefit libraries and library users as the ebook landscape evolves. Core welcomes any type of library or library agency, as well as consortia, to join this group.

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  • 1.  Maryland Library Association on "Reasonable"

    Posted Jul 28, 2021 02:30 PM

    Hi all, and sorry for any X-postings.


    As you're likely aware, Maryland passed a law requiring publishers that license ebooks/digital audiobooks to individuals also to license to libraries under "reasonable terms."


    So, what is "reasonable"? The Maryland Library Association has released a statement interpreting the legislation and inviting individual publishers to enter into dialog. There's also a press release with comments from the ALA President, among others.


    If you don't mind plowing though my usual sort of post, here's a commentary.  An executive summary is probably a good idea, though.


    The statement is far from radical.  It does not undermine the idea of a license-it is something we thought we could get passed to prevent embargoing. It does not set a specific cost or other license terms cost as reasonable. It encourages a wide range of possible models. The key is libraries should be getting roughly the "bang per book" (hardy har-rim shot!) on average in digital that we get from physical, in order for digital content to be sustainable and for libraries to develop the rich collections in digital that we can offer in print.


    If you get a chance to review, please let me know what you think.


    The legislation does not go as far as many in the library community might like, but we view it as a good first step.




    Michael Blackwell

    Director, St Mary's County Library

    23630 Hayden Farm Lane

    Leonardtown, MD 20650

    301-475-2151 x5013

    Cell phone:  301-904-3048


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  • 2.  RE: Maryland Library Association on "Reasonable"

    Posted Jul 28, 2021 08:14 PM
    Hi Michael,

    thanks for sharing this.

    My apologies if I missed it in the associated literature, but is this expected to apply to textbook publishers as well? Since they have increasingly been trying to push personal e-licenses and "access code" versions of their titles (making acquisition of even print editions of these texts difficult for us--obviously e-licenses have never been a possibility), this type of legislation could have some very interesting ramifications, if applicable.

    Joshua Keyes
    Collection Management Librarian
    The Claremont Colleges Library

  • 3.  RE: Maryland Library Association on "Reasonable"

    Posted Jul 29, 2021 08:59 AM

    Hi, Joshua,


    The Maryland and New York legislation do not specifically apply to textbooks-an oversight in Maryland on my part that I would certainly correct if I were doing it over!-but the pending Rhode Island legislation does. It says the following: "Libraries" mean all public and private libraries located at university and college institutions, all public and private libraries with public access, and all public and private libraries located in schools and vocational and technical educational institutions.


    It's is very important to get provisions extended to academic and school libraries. I'm hoping to see it passed.  Kyle Courtney from Harvard added this language, I'm pretty sure, and deserves thanks for thinking to expand the scope of legislation.