Publishers refuse to borrow many e-books. Libraries are therefore calling for e-books to be legally equated with printed books.
In an open letter to the members of the Bundestag, more than 600 directors of libraries in Germany called for legal amendments to the lending of e-books. The German Library Association referred on Friday to the example of a bestseller list for non-fiction books: Currently, the publishers are refusing to lend the libraries 70 percent of the newly published e-books. “Lending licenses are often only granted after months of waiting, and often not at all,” it says.
The chairman of the association, Andreas Degkwitz, called for a corresponding legal regulation to be included in the current draft law to amend the copyright law. Free access to knowledge and information regardless of payment barriers is a fundamental right. “But the lack of lending rights for e-books in copyright law for years is undermining the cultural and educational infrastructure of public libraries.”
The core demands are, therefore: The electronic books should be legally equated with the printed book in all areas. In addition, the library royalty is to be expanded to include electronic works so that authors are also paid appropriately for “e-lending”. There is also a campaign “#BuchistBuch”.
Especially in times of the Corona, the libraries rely on digital lending, in Berlin, for example, there is a free ID card. Whether and how libraries are open during the pandemic is regulated differently in the federal states.