|Weekly News Digest
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'Why 2021 Is Setting Up to Be a Pivotal Year for Digital Content in Libraries' by Sari Feldman
Sari Feldman writes the following for Publishers Weekly:
As with virtually every aspect of library activity today, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the digital content market. A year ago, tensions were flaring as many of the major publishers imposed new restrictions on library e-book lending—most prominently, Macmillan’s controversial embargo on new release e-books in libraries.
But when the pandemic hit last March, things changed. Macmillan abruptly rescinded its embargo, a welcome move, and many more publishers moved to increase flexibility in licensing to help library budget dollars go further. For example, Penguin Random House now offers one-year licenses for e-books and digital audio at a 50% prorated price, and HarperCollins has added more titles to its cost-per-circulation model as well as price discounts on an additional selection of frontlist and backlist titles.
Publishers have also helped libraries respond to the extraordinary increase in demand for digital programming by offering extended blanket permissions to record and host online readings. These permissions have enabled more read-aloud story times and live reader services for children in schools and public libraries. They have also served to highlight the importance of these vital programs and reinforced the library’s role as a vital learning institution. …
In 2021, libraries will almost certainly require more flexibility from publishers. The pandemic has had a serious impact on local budgets. And with many schools and public libraries remaining closed or offering only limited services, demand for digital resources will remain high.
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