Irish libraries respond to recent Pearson announcement of price increases

Irish Librarians condemn publisher Pearson’s 400% price hikes

Irish Librarians and library-related organisations wish to express our dissatisfaction with the recent announcement of upcoming increases to content provided by the publisher Pearson. That this news has been communicated as a fait accompli, less than two weeks before taking effect leaves little room to adopt a strategy to compensate for the impact on already strained budgets. There has been no rationale presented for any such increase which in real terms could see libraries spend an additional 400%+ for the same content with the same functionality.

Coming at a time when libraries have had to increase spending on electronic resources and spend sizeable amounts to protect the safety of our users during the continuing pandemic, this increase seems particularly egregious. Libraries have consistently engaged with the publishing community over the course of the pandemic and have welcomed initiatives which ensured that users would have access to critical collections, despite the impact of COVID-19. In light of this, the decision by Pearson is arbitrary, ill-timed and lacking in any spirit of collegiality to customers who will suffer by this move. We call on Pearson to reconsider the planned increases and to enter meaningful discussions with customers. The scale of the increases proposed is further evidence of the dysfunctional nature of the ebooks market as highlighted in our statement of October 2020 [2] and underlines the need for a government investigation. We will continue to identify alternatives, building on strong recent momentum towards the use of Open Educational Resources for teaching and learning.

Consortium of National and University Libraries (CONUL)

Irish Universities Association Librarians’ Group

Library Association of Ireland (LAI)

Technological Higher Education Association Librarians’ Group