Why Aren’t There More eBooks?

Why We Can’t Get Your Favorite eBook or Audiobook for Download

A library, unlike a regular person, cannot purchase an eBook from Amazon or Barnes & Noble and then lend it out to another person. Libraries can buy a printed book from these companies, place it on the shelf, and lend it out. Digital content is treated differently by the publishers and the companies who manage digital content licensing.

We want to offer as many eBooks as we can to our patrons; however, the publishers’ policies are preventing us from doing so. Please know that we are committed to advocating for a change to these restrictive policies.

Information on eBook publishers that won’t sell or license to libraries


Macmillan Publishing
Authors: Dana Stabenow, Kristin Hannah, Carola Dunn, Joan Hess, Jane Green and many more
Penguin Group
Authors: Harlan Coben, Lauren Willig, Karen White, Lisa Gardner, Stewart O’Nan, Eric Carle, Jan Brett and many more
Simon & Schuster
Authors: Steve Berry, Vince Flynn, J.A. Jance, Bethenny Frankel, Rachel Renee Russell, Sabrina Jeffries, Johanna Lindsey and many more
Brilliance Audio
Most of the bestseller audio
Hachette Book Group
Authors: David Baldacci, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Anita Shreve, Karen Kingsbury and many more

Just a few titles not available as library eBooks due to publisher restrictions:

Libraries can’t buy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble for e-content.
To provide digital rights management (the thing that keeps pirates from pirating the loaned file) we have to pay a third-party vendor. We don’t receive discounts. Many times we aren’t allowed to purchase new releases. With paper books, we receive discounts, get new releases the day they come out, and in a pinch we can buy from any store or vendor with books. Our purchasing power is diminishing quickly in the virtual world, meaning we either can’t get titles for you at all, or we can’t afford to buy all the titles we should have available.

Publishers tell us their concern is about pirating.
The vendor we pay for access creates digital rights management for our files to restrict pirating. These rights are no less restrictive than the copies you buy personally. There is no absolute way to prevent pirating on the Internet. Libraries are not part of the problem, we’re part of the solution. Offer readers and listeners limited access to a file paid for by the library and the need for piracy is reduced.

Publishers have long recognized the benefit of having books in libraries.
Libraries are the gateway to new titles, authors and characters. We promote their authors for free. We buy their older stock as replacements. We buy multiple copies of hardcover books. Nothing about the format of the book changes what is mutually beneficial to publishers and libraries in our long relationship.

This impasse affects YOU – even if you don’t ever download a single eBook or audiobook.
Taxpayers are affected by rising costs. It affects readers and listeners by severely limiting what we can offer. It affects our relationship with authors and their publishers. It affects our community when people can’t afford to pay for access and they have no other means of getting it.

Contact the publishers directly and let them know what you think!

For your convenience, the addresses and a sample letter are provided below:

Macmillan Publishing
75 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 226-7521
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 698-7000
Hachette Book Group
466 Lexington Avenue #131
New York, NY 10017
(212) 364-1100
Penguin Group
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 366-2000
Brilliance Audio
1704 Eaton Drive
Grand Haven, MI 49417
(616) 846-5256

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to express my disappointment with your unwillingness to sell or license eBooks to public libraries. By refusing to work with public libraries, you are denying library users equal access to books. I do not believe a publishing company should restrict access to information through the public library based solely on a book’s format.
(Your name)