Publisher restrictions on e-books and e-audiobooks

Find out how they impact you

Like libraries around the country, Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL) is affected by restrictions some publishers are placing on our ability to buy and provide e-books and e-audiobooks for our patrons. We know our patrons love their e-books and e-audiobooks, but unfortunately, some of these restrictions are limiting our ability to purchase and provide certain popular titles in these formats.

What does this mean for you? 

You may begin to notice longer wait times for some popular title in e-book and e-audiobook formats.

FAQs on Publisher Restrictions

  • Unfortunately, not all of an author’s titles are available as an e-book or downloadable audiobook.

  • E-book and downloadable audiobook pricing for libraries is very different, often much higher, than what you might pay from a retail store. On average, we pay more than $50 per copy, sometimes making it cost prohibitive to buy dozens of copies of one item.

  • Paperwhite has an exclusive agreement with OverDrive, so only items in our Libby/OverDrive collection are available in Kindle format. Not all titles are made available in the Kindle format, and sometimes the release of the Kindle format is delayed.

  • Unfortunately, the vendor platforms through which you get your e-books or downloadable audiobooks do not support automatic renewals.

  • There are some titles that publishers do not allow libraries to buy. While we may be able to get certain titles in print or on disc, the e-book or downloadable audiobook formats may not be available. Some of these popular titles may only be available for people to purchase and not available for sale to libraries. Paid services, like Audible™, have exclusive agreements with authors and publishers that prevent sales to libraries.

  • Most publishers let libraries lease e-books and downloadable audiobooks for either two-year terms or 26 checkouts. Once these terms are met, libraries must repurchase the titles. This is why you may see titles with no copies available as we work to repurchase items.