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A Reset for Library E-books

Publishers Weekly – In the wake of the pandemic, can publishers and libraries finally hash out their differences? “…But in mid-March, when the reality of the pandemic became apparent, everything changed. As libraries closed their doors and began shifting their print budgets to digital, dozens of publishers began slashing library e-book and digital audio prices and easing restrictions. And after nearly two tense years dating back to its 2018 “experiment” with its Tor imprint, Macmillan abruptly abandoned its embargo on new release library e-books. It’s worth noting that despite the tension in the marketplace, library e-book lending has still managed to post strong, consistent, double-digit growth every year for most of the last decade. But when the Covid-19 crisis hit and libraries and schools were suddenly forced to serve their communities remotely, the digital library market found a whole new gear. “From March through August 2020, our digital usage is up 42% over the same period in 2019,” says Lisa Rosenblum, director of the King County (Wash.) Library System. A perennial leader in digital circulation prior to the pandemic, Rosenblum says KCLS has seen a staggering 333% increase in new eCards issued since the pandemic forced the library to close its doors in March, adding some 18,000 new digital users to the library’s existing base…”

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