Toronto and Ottawa Public Libraries Welcome Penguin Random House’s Reduced ebook Prices

December 15, 2015 | Media Relations

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Toronto Public Library and Ottawa Public Library welcome Penguin Random House’s recently announced reduced ebook prices for libraries. This new pricing model will help public libraries achieve their goal of providing universal access to ebooks, which is a high priority given booming borrowing rates and high demand for this content.


“Penguin Random House is leading the way to a more flexible pricing model for library ebooks. This is a positive step in the right direction, and we look forward to productive discussions with all multinational publishers to continue to make progress on pricing issues,” said Vickery Bowles, City Librarian at Toronto Public Library.


Under Penguin Random House’s new terms of sale, public libraries will own ebook titles they purchase in perpetuity. Prices for best-selling ebooks will be reduced by more than 20 per cent. The pricing model also recognizes the impact of the low Canadian dollar on public libraries’ ability to buy ebooks, eliminating the higher price cap formerly set for Canadian purchases. While this is a significant step in the right direction, there are other components in libraries' preferred pricing model that still need to be addressed, specifically the ability to choose to purchase multiple copies of the same title in perpetuity at a premium price or on a shorter term basis at a lower price.


“With their new pricing formula, Penguin Random House is recognizing that libraries are key players in the publishing industry, both as major purchasers of books and ebooks, and promoters of literacy.” said Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board. “We hope other multinational publishers will follow suit with flexible and affordable ebook pricing so library customers can discover new authors and genres to fuel a life-long love of reading.”


Toronto Public Library and Ottawa Public Library are members of Canadian Public Libraries for Fair Ebook Pricing, a group that is raising awareness of the restrictive pricing models and high prices that multinational publishers charge libraries for ebooks.


The libraries will continue to advocate for a more reasonable and flexible pricing model with all five multinational publishers (Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster). Some multinational publishers charge libraries as much as three to five times more for ebooks than the consumer price, while others place caps and time limits on use. This means there are fewer titles and fewer copies for readers to discover.



Toronto Public Library is one of the world's busiest urban public library systems. Every year, 19 million people visit our branches in neighbourhoods across the city and borrow 32 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at or call Answerline at 416-393-7131. To get the most current updates on what's happening at the library, follow us on Twitter @torontolibrary.


The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is the largest bilingual (English/French) public library system in North America, with 34 branches, physical and virtual at, mobile libraries, and a vending machine library service. OPL’s mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook Contact us at 613-580-2940 or If it’s out there, it’s in here!




For more information, please contact:

Ana-Maria Critchley

Manager, Stakeholder Relations

Toronto Public Library



Ottawa Public Library