When a library hosts a book digitally, they do not simply pay what an ordinary consumer would pay for that book. Libraries pay additional licensing fees to publishing companies to host e-books through services like Libby and OverDrive, which can cost three to five times as much as the book itself and only last for a few years at a time.
According to Koeltl’s opinion, Penguin reaps $59 million per year just from e-book licensing to libraries, while HarperCollins makes nearly $47 million.
America already has a horrifying crisis of literacy: A majority of American adults—130 million people—cannot read at a 6th-grade level. The average American reads for personal interest just 16 minutes per day, and a 2018 survey found that 24 percent said they hadn’t read a single book in the prior year.
This article is focused on the lawsuit against the Internet Archive, but these numbers are heinous. Just sad, pathetic, and unsurprising behavior from the publishers.