May 22, 2022

Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Anna Eshoo Send Letters to Nine Aggregators Regarding “Expensive, Restrictive E-Book Lending Contracts with Libraries”

From Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR):

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., today sought answers about expensive, restrictive e-book lending contracts with libraries, in letters to nine e-book aggregators and platforms.

Aggregators are middlemen that license e-books to libraries on behalf of book publishers, and can also develop the e-lending platforms used by library patrons. The questions are part of Wyden and Eshoo’s ongoing inquiry into restrictions on public and academic libraries’ ability to lend e-books.

Wyden and Eshoo raised concerns that libraries are facing financial challenges lending e-books, and are often unable to make books available to their patrons as a result. 

“It is our understanding that these difficulties arise because e-books are typically offered under more expensive and limited licensing agreements, unlike print books that libraries can typically purchase, own, and lend on their own terms,” the members wrote. “These licensing agreements, with terms set by individual publishers and e-book aggregators, often include restrictions on lending, transfer, and reproduction, which may conflict with libraries’ ability to loan books, as well as with copyright exceptions and limitations. Under these arrangements, libraries are forced to rent books through very restrictive agreements that look like leases.”

Wyden and Eshoo sent the letter to the following aggregators: Overdrive, Hoopla (Midwest Tape), EBSCO, ProQuest, Axis 360 (Baker & Taylor), Bibliotheca, Gale (Cengage), Elsevier (RELX), DPLA Exchange/Palace Marketplace (LYRASIS).

Wyden and Eshoo asked similar questions of the five major book publishers in a September letter. The members are evaluating publishers’ responses.

Read the Complete Letter Sent to the Aggregators Listed Above
4 pages; PDF.


See Also: “Eshoo, Wyden Press Big Five Publishers on Costly, Overly Restrictive E-Book Contracts with Libraries” (September 24, 2021)

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.