E-Book Markets: Letter to the Chair of the Education Committee

We wrote to the Chair of the Education Committee, Robin Walker MP, on 23 November, 2022, to express our concern about the state of the e-Book market in the UK:

Robin Walker, MP

Dear Mr Walker,

Congratulations on your appointment as Chair of the Education Committee.

I am writing on the issue of poorly functioning e-book markets on behalf of the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance which represents the copyright and information law interests of UK libraries and archives. Our membership is drawn from national libraries, universities, the NHS and more.

We are deeply concerned that e-book and e-textbook publishers are failing to provide stable and affordable access to key titles which is failing students and teaching staff. This in turn is negatively impacting on UK research. As highlighted in a recent sectoral joint statement on access to eBooks, the norms of this market have led to libraries being increasingly excluded from, or priced out of, providing e- books and e-textbooks for students and library users. Many of the models and fees charged by publishers have either become prohibitively expensive, or libraries are no longer permitted to purchase these titles at all, creating an unsustainable situation for academia in this country.

As you are no doubt aware these pressing issues have been covered by media outlets as diverse as the BBC, Guardian, the Irish Examiner, Inside Higher Ed and others.

I would therefore alongside the other library and research groups that have written to the Education Committee, like to add LACA’s voice to the call for the Committee to investigate the e-book and e-textbook market.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Christy Henshaw, Chair of LACA

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