Legislation Authorizes State Library to Create E-Book Platform
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today signed P.A. 14-82, An Act Concerning a State-wide Platform for the Distribution of Electronic Books, authorizing the State Library to create and maintain a state platform for the distribution of electronic books (e-books) to public library patrons. The bill was passed in response to legislation Governor Malloy signed last year that commissioned the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) to study how Connecticut’s public libraries could gain fairer access to e-books.
“As the role of libraries changes, it’s critical that we continue to provide invaluable resources that support the educational advancement of Connecticut citizens in a digital age,” said Governor Malloy. “We are leading the nation with the passage of common sense legislation that will increase educational opportunities for library patrons.”
The DCP study, found that, while over 90 percent of state libraries were offering at least some e-books to their patrons, the most popular titles were often unavailable or only available at prices well above the consumer price. To increase the availability of e-books and other e-content at libraries, the study recommended, among other things, the creation of a state-wide e-book distribution platform.
“I want to thank the Governor for supporting the creation of the first statewide e-book purchasing program in the nation,” said Rep. Brian Sear (D-Canterbury). “E-books are the technological wave of the future, and this platform will create easy and consistent access and pricing of e-books to libraries throughout Connecticut, and result in significant cost savings.”
“With this new law, the State of Connecticut will ensure our local libraries have a broad selection of e-books,” said Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield), Co-Chairman of the General Law Committee. “Prior to this legislation, it was unclear if municipal libraries would be able to continue to provide their citizens with e-book selections. I want to thank Governor Malloy and all those who collaborated on this issue for their support.”
“The e-book legislation was one of the most popular bi-partisan bills of the session,” said Rep. David Baram (D-Bloomfield), Co-Chairman of the General Law Committee. “It represents a comprehensive state strategy to purchase e-books for our public libraries so that patrons throughout the state can enjoy them without the significant cost of purchase. By creating a state purchasing platform, we can flex our economic muscle to acquire e-books, overcoming the restrictive marketing taking place within the industry aimed at promoting private sales for increased profits. This will lower public library costs and provide greater e-book access to Connecticut residents. It was a personal pleasure to advocate this bill as part of our General Law Committee agenda.”
Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), Ranking Member of the General Law Committee, stated, “I am excited to see our libraries expand and modernize their offerings to encourage reading. Literacy is a key to learning, and reading in any format is important for people of all ages.”
“The use of e-books has exploded in recent years, so this legislation will help libraries offer more resources to the public,” said Rep. Dan Carter (R-Bethel), Ranking Member of the General Law Committee. “Our libraries remain an important part of our community, as well as destinations for family-friendly education and recreation. This is a step in the right direction as we seek to keep libraries outfitted with relevant and useful resources, and encourage reading among people of all ages and backgrounds.”
State Librarian Kendall Wiggin said, “With the recent development of a statewide e-book platform, Connecticut will continue to lead in library resource sharing. It is important that our citizens have the same level of access to e-books as they have to print books and this legislation will allow the State Library to make that happen.”
“The Connecticut Library Association is extremely pleased that Governor Malloy has signed the legislation that will enable the Connecticut State Library to create a statewide e-book delivery system,” said Connecticut Association President Richard Conroy. “Connecticut is a national leader on this issue, and we applaud the Governor for recognizing the importance of providing e-books to all of our State’s residents in a fair and equitable way. As the market evolves, we anticipate that this important new service will have a positive influence on the relationship between publishers and libraries with regard to e-books.”
Studies show that e-books are now the preferred book format for many readers. Between 2002 and 2012, e-book share of trade publishing revenue increased from 0.05 percent to roughly 23 percent. In 2012, nearly 80 percent of libraries reported that they experienced a dramatic increase in the demand for e-books during the previous year.