Beginning November 18, users who access The Indianapolis Public Library’s online collection of e-books and e-audiobooks will see reductions in the number of such materials that can be checked out or placed on hold at one time. This is in response to recent changes by major publishing companies that limit the Library’s ability to purchase and license new electronic materials.
Library patrons will see allowable checkouts reduced from 35 to 20 and items placed on-hold reduced from 20 to 10 at one time. Also, the loan period for e-books and e-audiobooks will default to a shorter 14-day period, although patrons will still be able to adjust the limit to either the current standard of 21 days or a shorter 7-day period. The new limits are intended to reduce waitlist times, provide access to more patrons, and help the Library manage its limited materials budget in light of increased purchasing costs. In most cases, the Library’s cost to purchase a new e-book or e-audiobook is four to six times higher than that for the same physical book.
The limits represent an initial strategy for dealing with new models from publishers that require libraries to re-purchase individual copies of e-materials whose licenses expire after a short period of time, as opposed to the purchase of a single physical book that the Library can keep and circulate in perpetuity. Many publishers also are implementing embargoes that restrict Library purchases of new materials for a set time period.
“Our goal is to create an awareness of the issue among patrons and foster community sharing of our electronic materials in light of our limited resources,” said Deb Lambert, IndyPL’s Director of Collection Management. “The Library remains committed to its traditional role of providing equitable access to all materials, and these new measures will help accommodate the growing demand for e-books.”
To help in other small ways, the Library encourages patrons to return e-materials earlier by clicking on the “Return” button when they are finished, choose shorter loan periods, and cancel holds they no longer want.
For each of the past two years, IndyPL has circulated more than two million e-books and other electronic materials. Nationwide, public library digital circulation is increasing by 30 percent per year.
The Indianapolis Public Library is joining the American Library Association and the Public Library Association in a campaign to inform citizens about the impact of changes in the publishing industry on libraries and to encourage their advocacy. To learn more about the campaign, visit here.