County Executive Ike Leggett is urging residents to express -- to all levels of government -- their opposition to the pricing tactics employed by book publishers that result in public libraries paying more for e-books than general consumers.
Leggett said there is a “…need to act now to end this discriminatory practice and bring fairness back to the cost of licensing e-books for public consumption at our public libraries. We have a very strong lobby for public libraries in Montgomery County,” Leggett stated, “and I urge our advocates to call attention to this issue.”
The Executive expressed support for the County Council resolution (pdf) that passed on July 23 requesting a state and federal-level investigation of the issue.
Over the past four years, the demand for e-books in Montgomery County Public Libraries has increased by an average of 87.5 percent. Yet, libraries often pay $75 or higher for an e-book, three times more than consumers would pay to purchase an e-book,
Montgomery County Public Libraries Director Parker Hamilton said, “Any and all attention that can be drawn to the issue of inequitable e-book pricing is most welcome. If not addressed by our elected representatives at all levels, this practice will adversely affect one of the oldest public services that government provides – free access to life-long learning for people of all ages and backgrounds.”