Ottawa Library says fair eBook prices are long overdue


The Ottawa Public Library is pleased to join Canadian Public Libraries for Fair Ebook Pricing to raise awareness of high eBook prices charged by multinational publishers.  Despite booming borrowing rates and high demand for eBooks, public libraries face challenges in ensuring universal access to this content.


Some multinational publishers charge libraries as much as three to five times more for eBooks than the consumer price, while others place caps and time limits on use. This means there are fewer titles and fewer copies for readers to discover.


“This campaign is our way of representing our customers’ best interests,” said Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board and Councillor for Ward 11 Beacon Hill – Cyrville. “We’re asking multinational publishers to work with public libraries to find mutually beneficial solutions that will grant our customers access to a wide range of eBooks.”


Issues facing public libraries are outlined at The page features examples of the “price gap” between consumer and library prices, illustrated by a selection of popular titles. The page includes a poll, social media sharing with hashtag #FairEbookPrices and email collection for those interested in updates on the issue.


“One of the Ottawa Public Library’s core values is ensuring customers have access to information. In the case of eBooks, the demand for this service is steadily increasing, yet we cannot keep up with requests due to the high cost imposed on libraries,” said Danielle McDonald, Ottawa Public Library’s Chief Executive Officer.


Canadian Public Libraries for Fair Ebook Pricing is a coalition formed by the Canadian Library Association, Canadian Urban Libraries Council, Ontario Library Association, and Toronto Public Library. Coalition members have worked individually and in partnership on advocacy efforts since 2010.


Canadian Public Libraries for Fair Ebook Pricing will continue to communicate its position to several government and publishing stakeholders, and to work collaboratively with other large public library systems across North America. The coalition will hold continued conversations with multinational publishers as part of an effort to establish fair and reasonable prices and obtain more eBooks.


The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is the largest bilingual (English/French) public library system in North America, with 34 branches, physical and virtual at, mobile libraries, and a vending machine library service. OPL’s mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook Contact us at613-580-2940 or If it’s out there, it’s in here!

OttawaStart Staff


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