By Tiffani Stewart
St. Charles City-County Library
It’s no secret that our Library customers love eBooks. Over the past two years, circulation of eBooks at the St. Charles City-County Library has increased by over 12%. And this trend is not unusual. Libraries across the country have seen more and more customers shift from reading print materials to accessing books digitally on their phones and devices. The Library happily provides a large selection of eBooks to the community, but these electronic materials come at a cost that is steadily increasing.
For many years, libraries have been asked to pay significantly more for eBook copies than typical customers would pay. For example, the recent Michelle Obama memoir, Becoming, was offered to libraries in eAudiobook format at a cost of $95 per copy. That same audiobook was on sale for $44.99 for consumers.
In addition, many of these titles are now offered to libraries with only limited access. Rather than the library owning the rights to an eBook after it has been purchased, publishers are instead giving libraries access for only 24 months or a certain number of checkouts. Once these limits are met, the eBook disappears from the library catalog unless it is purchased again. A recent David Baldacci title, One Good Deed, was purchased by the St. Charles City-County Library at a cost of $65 for a 24-month license. That same copy was available to consumers at a cost of $14.99 with no limitations. In the past two years, the St. Charles City-County Library has seen a 436% increase in spending on re-purchasing titles with expired licenses. As libraries budget more money to buy these titles again and again, less is available to invest in debut authors, lesser-known books, and specialty titles.
You may be thinking, “Well, lots of people read these eBooks. The publisher deserves more money!” But if you compare the cost of print books, libraries pay what consumers pay. And often a print copy can be used in the library for much longer than two years. In addition, studies have found that libraries are collaborators rather than competitors in the book industry. In a recent survey by Library Journal (August, 2019), nearly half of respondents said that they had later purchased a book that they first borrowed from the library. 76% said that they had later purchased another title by an author they discovered at the library.
But wait...there’s more! This summer, Macmillan Publishers announced a new lending model for libraries that will take effect on November 1, 2019. Libraries may purchase only ONE SINGLE COPY of each new title in an eBook format from Macmillan for the first eight weeks after its release. That means that every library, big or small, will be able to offer only one eBook to customers for two months. For example, Macmillan author Nora Roberts recently released Under Currents. The St. Charles City-County Library ordered and received 31 eBook copies and currently have 104 people waiting to borrow them. If the same book was available after November 1, we would have one copy available. Customer wait times will significantly increase if this policy becomes reality.
America’s libraries are committed to promoting literacy and a love of reading with diverse collections of materials. Macmillan’s embargo limits libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all. It particularly harms library patrons with disabilities that impede their ability to visit physical branches or those that have learning issues minimized by the features available through eBooks (large print size, lighted screen, etc).
Help us fight back! Join us in signing the American Library Association’s petition at eBooksForAll.org. You can also contact Macmillan Publishers at:
Attn: John Sargent, CEO
120 Broadway Street
New York, NY 10271
Thank you for your support. Whatever happens in the future with eBook costs and availability, we’ll always work to provide the resources you want and need - including these classes and events coming soon to the Boone’s Trail and Augusta Branch Libraries.
• Family Fun: Holiday Block Decor* (Augusta), Sat., Nov. 2nd, 9:30 a.m.
Create a reversible block decoration using paint and decoupage. A great craft for families to do together.
• Veterans Day Appreciation (all branches), Mon., Nov. 11th, all day
Join us for cookies and coffee as we honor America’s veterans.
• Star Party* (Boone’s Trail), Tues., Nov. 12th, 7:00 p.m.
Bring the whole family to view our amazing universe through telescopes. Get hands-on stargazing instruction from the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri.
• Tech Time: Osmos (Augusta), Sat., Nov. 23rd, 9:30 a.m.
Use our iPads and Osmos to play “Tangrams”. See your puzzle-piece creations come to life!
• I Love Quilts (Augusta), Tues., Nov. 5th, 10:00 a.m.
The name says it all! See demonstrations, bring your Show and Tell project, and don’t forget Block of the Month.
• Make It Sew: Key Fob* (Augusta), Thurs., Nov. 7th, 4:30 p.m.
Key fob: an item carried on a key ring as decoration. Register to create a unique one.
• Game On! (Augusta), Tues., Nov. 12th, 5:30
Play at the library! Drop in and choose your favorite from a variety of board games.
• Make It Sew: Hanging Kitchen Dish Towel* (Augusta), Thurs., Nov. 14th, 4:30 p.m.
We'll show you how to make one, then you can make more. Bring your sewing machine, or use a library sewing machine.
• Augusta Book Discussion* (Augusta), Mon., Nov. 18th, 2:00 p.m.
The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton is about journalists who race the Allies to occupied Paris for the scoop of their lives. Join us for a discussion of this fast-paced WWII novel.
• English Paper Piecing* (Augusta), Tues., Nov. 19th, 4:00 p.m.
Learn a quilting technique that allows for beautiful and intricate designs.
• New Melle Nonfiction Book Discussion Group* (Boone’s Trail), , Nov. 21st, 10:00 a.m.
In the summer of 1859, Peachy Quinn Harrison went on trial for murder in Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln was hired to defend him. What happened? Read Lincoln’s Last Trial by Dan Abrams & David Fisher, then join our spirited discussion.
• Make It Sew: French Seam “Hot Dog” Pillowcase* (Augusta), , Nov. 21st, 4:30 p.m.
Bring your sewing machine or take turns using library sewing machines to create a pretty pillowcase for your bed with a hot dog sewing technique (Does not result in a hot dog shape!)
• Let’s Play Crazy Rummy* (Boone’s Trail), Mondays at 10:30 a.m.
Ready for rummy? Kick off your week with fun and friends at the library.
• Write Your Life Story* (Augusta), Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.
This weekly group will help you write your life story. At each session you’ll receive a topic to work on. Stay motivated and accountable. Your loved ones will thank you.
• Coffee at the Library (Augusta), Thursdays at 9:00 a.m.
Join the regulars for coffee and conversation every Thursday morning.
• Hand and Foot Canasta* (Boone’s Trail), Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.
It’s easy to make friends and have fun while keeping track of two decks of cards (a hand and a foot). We promise! Beginners welcome.
• Yarn Arts (Augusta), Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
Are you a yarn artist? If you knit, crochet, embroider, or cross stitch, join us to finish your next project.
• Let’s Create: Bubble Wrap Corn (Augusta), Mon., Nov. 4th, drop in all day
You love to pop it. Did you know it’s also perfect for creating corn decorations? Come try it!
• Discovery Kids: Layers of the Earth* (Boone’s Trail) Mon., Nov. 4th, 6:00 p.m.
Crust is more than just a tasty part of the pie. Learn about layers of the Earth.
• Story Time (Boone’s Trail), Thurs., Nov. 7th, 10:30 a.m.
Stories, songs, and crafts to enhance early literacy. Story time is open to children ages 3-6.
• Growing Healthy: Yoga Story Time (Augusta) Sat., Nov. 9th, 9:30 a.m.
Learn, move, and play for a healthy you! Learn and practice basic yoga moves.
• Let’s Create: Turkey Craft (Augusta), Mon., Nov. 11th, drop in all day
Use yarn and a paper plate to weave a cute yarn turkey decoration for Thanksgiving.
• Let’s Explore: Avid Adventurers* (Boone’s Trail) Thurs., Nov. 14th, 5:30 p.m.
Explore ancient and modern day Hawaii through reading and playing. (Grades K-5)
• Tale Waggers: Read to a Dog* (Boone’s Trail), Tues., Nov. 26th, 6:00 p.m.
Did you know that reluctant readers can gain confidence by reading to a dog? Bring a book (or choose one of ours) to share with a friendly attentive dog from “Love on a Leash”.
• Discovery Kids: Layers of the Earth* (Boone’s Trail) Mon., Nov. 4th, 6:00 p.m.
Crust is not just at the bottom of a pie, it’s something you walk on every day. Learn more.
• Discover Technology: Tech Drop In (Augusta), Sat., Nov. 16th, 9:30 a.m.
Did you know? You can read magazines, listen to audiobooks, and get live tutoring FREE with your library card. Come discover these online Library resources and more!
*Register at myLibrary.org or call Boone’s Trail at 636-398-6200 or Augusta at 636-228-4855.
The Boone’s Trail and Augusta branches are open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon.
**All library branches will be closed on Thursday, November 28th for Thanksgiving.