Let libraries lend ebooks

by CILIP category: Cause

“Libraries should be able to lend ebooks free of charge to the public, as they do printed books #eread http://thndr.it/1iYIXIs

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Ends Apr 23, 10:30 AM BST


This campaign ended on April 23 at 10AM

Let libraries lend ebooks

Public libraries in the UK have the right to lend physical books but not ebooks.

The choice of ebooks available to borrow is limited and not all local authorities lend ebooks.

As the way we read changes, so must the way libraries lend.

The Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals is campaigning for public libraries in the UK to be able to lend ebooks free of charge to the public, as they do printed books.

The campaign culminates in E-reading Day on 23 April 2014, which is UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day

Why can’t libraries do this now?

Current European copyright law means that publishers do not need to license libraries to lend ebooks at all.

Out of the six major trade publishers in the UK only three offer some of their ebooks to libraries and over 85% of ebooks are not available to public libraries in the UK.

Why is this important?

Almost half the UK population (47%) have used a public library in the past 12 months and libraries play a vital role building literacy skills and providing access to information and reading to build a knowledgeable, informed and connected society.

Ebook sales made up 29% of the total UK book market in 2013 and this is predicted to grow.

The fact that many ebooks are not accessible through public libraries means that this source of information, knowledge and ideas is cut off from families, communities and businesses. 

Libraries should have the same statutory right to lend ebooks as they do printed books. 

What do we want?

We want a clear European copyright law that allows libraries to fulfil their mission of providing everyone with the opportunity to read, and access information and knowledge and provides reasonable payment for authors and publishers.
We want:
  • To provide our library users with the latest e-books as we do printed book
  • To buy e-books at fair prices and on reasonable terms
  • All citizens – not just those who can afford it – to benefit from free access to e-books in public libraries
  • Authors to receive fair payment for the lending of e-books as they do for printed books by extending Public Lending Right to include the loan of e-books by public libraries

What else can I do?
We'll keep you up to date with the latest campaign news and opportunities to get involved.

You can sign up as an individual supporter or as an organisation.

More about the campaign

CILIP is supporting a European-wide campaign for the right to e-read, which calls for the statutory right of public libraries across the European Union to purchase e-books and make them available for lending, as part of a revised European copyright framework – which is currently being consulted by the EU..



CILIP is the leading body representing the information professions in the UK.

We believe in a literate, knowledgeable and connected society. We build the professionalism of our members by supporting the development of skills, knowledge and excellence. We provide unity through shared values and advocate on behalf of the information professions.

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