May 24, 2022

eBooks in UK Libraries: “The Society of Authors Warns Publishers Over E-Book Loans to Libraries”

Note: Primary docs mentioned in article are linked to at the bottom of this post. 

From The Bookseller:

The Society of Authors has warned that authors may be losing out twice over on e-book loans, with president-elect Philip Pullman calling for authors to “be paid fairly” for the digital loans.

In its report and briefing paper, the Society of Authors commented that authors may be losing up to two thirds of the income they would have received on the sale and loan of a physical book, since publishers may be underpaying authors on e-book library loans, and the government is not paying authors Public Lending Right on e-book loans.

The SoA stated that publishers may be mistakenly underpaying authors on library loans of e-books by treating receipts as sales rather than licences.


The Society pointed to publishers that use aggregators such as Overdrive in dealing with digital loans as being particularly likely to treat all receipts as sales when accounting to authors. SoA president Nicola Solomon said that she has written to two trade publishers today–Bloomsbury and Random House–taking issue with how these publishers characterise their sales to libraries via Overdrive. In the letters, Solomon called for future publishing contracts to state clearly what rights were being granted and what rate was to be applied to licences for e-book lending, and that any models for e-lending should renumerate authors per loan as well as for the initial licensing of the e-book.

Read the Complete Article (via The Bookseller)

Primary Documents

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.