Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Libraries are successfully convincing state legislatures to help them win better terms for ebook licenses from Amazon and other publishers.

Why it matters: Libraries say it is crucial for them to continue to service their communities, especially as digital access to books became even more important during the pandemic.

  • "What a tragedy it would be if in a digital context, Americans and American library users have less access to knowledge and information than they did in the analog era," John Bracken, executive director of the Digital Public Library of America, told Axios.

What's happening: A Maryland law set to take effect in January and a similar bill in New York would require publishers that sell ebooks to consumers to also license them to libraries on reasonable terms.

  • Libraries pushed for the legislation because they say publishers charge high prices, require re-purchases of licenses, limit the ability to circulate digital copies, and, until recently in Amazon's case, refuse to license some ebooks to libraries at all.
  • "We've had enough of this," Alan Inouye, senior director of public policy & government relations for the American Library Association, told Axios. "Libraries really need to have reasonable access."

Details: The Maryland law and New York bill say it is not reasonable to limit the number of ebook licenses libraries can buy at the same date they are available to the general public.

By the numbers: OverDrive, a digital reading platform for libraries and schools, said 2020 was a record-setting year for digital checkouts, and growth continued in 2021, CEO Steve Potash told Axios.

  • Total digital book lending will exceed 500 million in 2021, Potash said, up from 430 million in 2020.
  • More flexible licensing models — such as allowing simultaneous checkouts of the same digital copy — helped contribute to the increase, Potash said.

The other side: Publishers' trade group the Association of American Publishers (AAP) opposes the measures, and filed a lawsuit this month to overturn Maryland's law.

  • AAP says the law violates federal copyright protections by creating a "shadow copyright act" that gives libraries "unprecedented control" over transactions with publishers.
  • "It's true that these bills would force more works on more immediate terms at devalued pricing," Maria Pallante, president of AAP and former head of the U.S. Copyright Office, told Axios.
  • "Where we disagree is if that's good for the sustainability of the publishing industry, or whether it's lawful."

Between the lines: The publishers' lawsuit in Maryland serves as a warning shot to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has yet to sign the state's bill into law.

  • A spokesperson for Hochul's office told Axios they are reviewing the legislation, which has already passed the state legislature.

Flashback: The American Library Association voiced its complaints against Amazon and other major publishing firms in 2019 as part of the House Judiciary Committee's digital markets investigation.

  • Libraries were frustrated over a Macmillan Publishers policy to restrict ebook sales to libraries during the first weeks of publications, a policy the publisher changed in 2020.
  • Additionally, Amazon had refused to make ebooks from its own publishing house available to libraries. Amazon Publishing has since struck a deal with nonprofit distributor Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).
  • "Thousands of titles from the Amazon Publishing catalog are available to libraries in ebook through DPLA now, with thousands more coming in the near future," the Amazon spokesperson said.
  • An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the state measures.

What's next: Massachusetts and Rhode Island both are considering similar measures, Inouye noted, and more states could pick up the proposals as they convene for their sessions next year.

  • "Libraries should have reasonable access to digital books, not for free, to pay the market price," Inouye said. "It goes through pretty easily, because it's kind of commonsense."

Go deeper

The state tech policy battles that will rage in 2022

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

States will ramp up the momentum they've built in tackling key tech policy priorities through 2022, speeding ahead of any potential federal legislation.

Why it matters: As Congress continues to make little tangible progress passing new rules for the tech industry, state legislatures have taken the lead in enacting new tech regulations.

Updated 19 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.