Friday, 4 June 2021

New Maryland state law supports library e-book usage

The Association of Research Libraries has a great (for libraries) story reporting that Maryland is the first state in the nation to enact a state law ensuring that libraries can license e-books and audiobooks under the same terms available to consumers. The law, House Bill 518 in the MD legislature, was enacted by the Governor on May 31. It begins:

"FOR the purpose of requiring a publisher who offers to license an electronic literary 4 product to the public to also offer to license the electronic literary product to 5 public libraries in the State on reasonable terms that would enable public libraries 6 to provide library users with access to the electronic literary product..."
The article points out that  while the bill specifically names public libraries, academic and university libraries will also benefit from improved terms and business practices. The Maryland public libraries expect that the legislation will cause publishers to bring down the prices they charge libraries for e-books, although some price discrimination likely will remain. Additionally, the legislation will result in Maryland public libraries obtaining access to titles now available only to consumers. Similar legislation is pending in other state legislatures, and the adoption of the law in Maryland can be expected to accelerate this legislation.

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