Posted by: bluesyemre | June 30, 2014

College Libraries Push Back as Publishers Raise Some E-Book Prices


  • In mid-May, the Boston Library Consortium, which represents 17 academic libraries in New England, received an abrupt and unsettling phone call from ebrary, an e-book library owned by the aggregator ProQuest. A company representative said 11 academic publishers, including major players like Taylor & Francis and Oxford University Press, would be raising the cost of short-term e-book loans effective June 1. In some cases the increase would be as much as 300 percent. The suddenness, scale, and timing of the changes—shortly before the end of one fiscal year, with money already committed for the next—left the consortium and its member libraries feeling ambushed. “There was a very, very deep collective sigh of, ‘Oh my gosh, not again,’” says Susan M. Stearns, the consortium’s executive director. The word “again” is telling. Academic librarians have long decried the prices commercial publishers charge for access to serial publications, particularly electronic journals in the sciences. With journal packages taking up increasingly large chunks of library budgets, the prospect of publishers’ ramping up prices on another digital format has spooked some librarians.

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