The lending of E-books by public libraries will enhance library services for users, but the interests of booksellers and publishers must be protected too, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said today.
A Government-commissioned report, An Independent Review of E-Lending in Public Libraries in England by William Sieghart, published today, sets out the following principles:
- Public libraries should be able to offer a remote E-lending service to their readers, free at the point of use;
- The interests of publishers and booksellers must be protected through ‘frictions’ that limit the supply of E-books in the same way that physical book loans are controlled;
- Pilot projects later in the year should test business models and help gather evidence of best practice; and
- The Public Lending Right should be extended to on-site e-loans, with consideration further ahead to including remote e-loans.
A series of pilot projects between publishers and libraries this year, using established literary events, will test business models and user behaviours to help provide a solid evidence base for going forward.
The Sieghart Review said publishers should be protected through “frictions” that limit the supply of e-books in the same way that physical book loans are controlled, including the lending of each digital copy to one reader at a time, securely removing e-books after lending and having digital books “deteriorate after a number of loans”.
The extension of Public Lending Right to audiobooks and loans of on-site e-books should be brought into force and PLR legislation should be extended to take account of remote e-lending too, the Review also said, with a growth in the PLR money pot.