Amazon, the bookselling and data giant that owns Kindle and Audible, is again under fire—this time for denying libraries access to digital books it publishes, despite the pandemic, according to Fight for the Future.
The digital rights organization says that, last week, more than 11,000 people signed a petition calling for Amazon to allow libraries to purchase its digital books, and demanding that they cease weaponizing the data that they selectively provide to other publishers.
As the pandemic surges, many libraries are closing their doors and cancelling the lending of physical books. Digital services such as ebooks and audiobooks remain available, but not for any titles that Amazon owns, according to Fight for the Future.
Amazon — which owns Kindle, Audible, and Goodreads, refuses to let libraries lend any ebook it publishes, or any audiobook it creates — the dial rights organization says. During the pandemic, checkouts of ebooks from libraries are up 52 percent.
“Amazon’s unchecked and disastrous monopoly is threatening the future of human knowledge and literacy. It is clear to anyone who knows how Amazon operates that public libraries are in danger,” said Lia Holland, an activist with digital rights organization Fight for the Future. “Amazon’s goal is to create the false perception that public libraries are bad for book sales, so that Amazon Kindle and Audible can supplant libraries and cement a monopoly that would remove the possibility of any competition in the digital book marketplace. Children and low income readers of all ages should never be denied accessible books because they can’t afford to pay Amazon.”