February 15, 2024

Introducing E-Books for Us!

Last year we proposed model e-book legislation to protect libraries from harmful e-book contracts, and since then we and our partners have been working with communities across the United States to tackle e-book contracts state by state. We’re proud to report e-book legislation is gaining traction, such as in Massachusetts and Tennessee. Still, we sometimes find ourselves preaching to the choir. After all, contracts are really, reeeeally complicated. Have you ever tried to explain the labyrinth of library licenses to a friend? Or cornered a fellow parent at soccer practice to expound on why the library has to rent the latest Stephen King audiobook for $100 for 2 years until it expires, at which point they have to buy, I mean rent, it again? I can’t be the only one banned from talking copyright at family gatherings.

“L'ennui” by Gaston La Touche is in the public domain.

Enter E-books For Us!

This new website features engaging, simple, and informative comics with interactive games and quizzes to highlight critical e-book issues that impact libraries today:

  • Price hikes for digital content
  • Rental-only restrictions for digital content
  • Nonnegotiable contract restrictions on fair use and other basic library rights
  • Patron privacy violations

Want to know why The Wok costs your library over $100 for a 24-month license when you can get the same e-book on Amazon for under $30 and keep it forever? Or why, despite your best librarian hacks, you can’t find the audiobook of Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible in your library? We’ve got answers. And more importantly, we’ve got actions!

Whether you’re a librarian, a lawmaker, or a citizen hoping to make a difference in your community, the E-Books for Us project site gives you the tools and talking points you need to shift the balance back to a system that supports access to e-books for all. Use it to start a conversation about introducing Library Futures legislation in your state, download prints of our fabulous comics to dress up an advocacy campaign in your library, or send the site directly to your representatives as a legislative resource.

Still crave print? We’ve got you covered! Check out the Brighter Futures Coloring Book + Bullet Journal and begin planning for a brighter e-book future in your state! 

We’re grateful to the eBook Study Group, Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy, and ReadersFirst for providing content, resources, and feedback during the development and implementation of the E-Books for Us website. Special thanks, too, to Kenny and Olivia whose patience and creativity helped turn our vision for this project into a reality.

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A graphic of a person holding a smartphone and discovering books inside
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