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Audiobook Access for All?
According to Booknet Canada’s recent report on the State of Digital Publishing in Canada:
Audiobook production has seen continuous growth for the past three years, with the percentage of firms reporting that they produce digital audiobooks increasing by 24% since 2016, up to 61%
However, libraries are finding that not all digital audiobooks are being made available to the Canadian library market, which is especially troubling when many of these titles are by Canadian authors.
Toronto Public Library’s @eBookGoddess (a.k.a. Maria Cipriano) brought this issue to the forefront at Book Summit 2018 during a publisher’s panel on audiobook production in Canada. She pointed out that:
- While it’s great that so many Canadian books are now being produced in audio format, the vast majority are being withheld from Canadian libraries
- In many cases it’s easier to buy American audiobook titles vs. Canadian
- Many Canada Reads titles and Giller Prize nominees are not available to the Canadian library market
- Libraries serve many marginalized communities that cannot afford to purchase all their reading material or subscribe to audio services. These include: the disabled, Indigenous communities, and the economically disadvantaged
How can the library community get on board with improving access? Keep an eye out for an upcoming campaign from CULC (who organized the #FairEbookPrices campaign) that will push for Canadian library access to audio content. Stay tuned for details!