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Indianapolis Library puts new limits on digital checkouts

Library responding to publishing industry changes
Posted at 4:36 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 16:39:26-05

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indianapolis Public Library is placing new limits on the number of e-books and e-audiobooks a person can check out at one time.

The announcement came Monday and the new policy is effective November 18, according to library spokesman Jon Barnes.

On that day, the number of allowable checkouts will be reduced from 35 to 20, and items placed on hold cut from 20 to 10 at one time. Additionally, the loan period for e-books and e-audiobooks will default to a shorter 14-day period, but can be bumped up to 21-days.

Barnes says the new caps are in response to recent changes by major publishing companies that limit the library's ability to purchase and license new electronic materials, and are intended to reduce waitlist times, provide access to more patrons, and help the library manage its limited materials budget in light of increased purchasing costs.

In most cases, the library's cost to purchase a new e-book or e-audiobook is four to six times higher than for a physical book, according to Barnes. Publishers are now requiring libraries to re-purchase individual copies of e-materials after a short period of time, as opposed to a single book that the library can circulate indefinitely.

"Our goal is to create an awareness of the issue among our patrons and foster community sharing of our electronic materials in light of our limited resources," said Deb Lambert, the library's Director of Collection Management. "The library remains committed to its traditional role of providing equitable access to all materials, and these new measures will help accommodate the growing demand for e-books."

Nationwide, public library digital circulation is increasing by 30-percent per-year.