From the BBC:
More than 2,500 UK university staff have called for an investigation into the “scandal” of excessive pricing of academic e-books.
“Price rises are common, sudden and appear arbitrary” with some digital books increasing by 200%, they say in a letter to Education Committee MPs.
Organiser Johanna Anderson said some e-texts can cost 10 times print copies, with taxpayers and students the losers.
Publishers say the costs are due to the different formats and shared-use.
Librarians, lecturers, researchers and other representatives from almost every university in the UK have attached their names to the letter. It says:
- A monopoly created by copyright law is the root cause of “these huge pricing differentials” and there is no justification for it
- Earlier this year at least two well-known academic publishers raised the cost for a single-user e-book by 200% with no warning
- Licences of e-books are often confusing and frequently restrictive
- Publishers can withdraw e-book licences previously purchased by universities and enforce new ones.
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