Libraries Alarmed by Macmillan Publishing eBook Embargo

On July 25, Macmillan Publishing announced it would become the only major (Big 5) publisher to limit eBook lending for U.S. libraries. Under its new licensing model, scheduled to begin November 1, 2019, a library is limited to purchasing one copy upon release of a new title in eBook format. After an eight-week embargo, only then will Macmillan allow additional copies of that title for sale to libraries.

American Library Association (ALA) President Wanda Brown asserted, "Macmillan Publishers' new model for library eBook lending will make it difficult for libraries to fulfill our central mission: ensuring access to information for all. Macmillan's new policy is unacceptable." Echoing her concerns, Public Library Association (PLA) President Ramiro Salazar stated, "Access to digital content in libraries is more than a financial issue: it is an equity issue. We encourage Macmillan Publishers to reverse course before libraries and the people they serve are harmed."

Here in Virginia, libraries are worried that this model will become one that is imitated by the other publishers who offer eBook lending to libraries. Millions of people now use digital content as their preferred access to books, music, and movies. There are excellent reasons for this: digital content is portable, accessible to people with print disabilities, and available anywhere 24/7. When brokered by libraries, digital content provides diverse options to our communities. Unfortunately, making this content hard to use and unaffordable results in denying many people access, and it often means denying authors the sales that library users would make once they discovered the author via library-provided digital content.

(Above is an excerpt from a statement issued by the Virginia Library Association (VLA). The full statement can be viewed on the VLA website.) 

In denouncing Macmillan's new library lending model for eBooks, ALA is encouraging library customers to voice their objections. (The full statement can be view on the ALA website.)

Library customers and advocates can contact Macmillan Publishes to voice their concerns:

Macmillan Publishers
Attn: Mr. John Sargent, CEO
120 Broadway Street
New York, NY 10271
Phone: 646-307-5151
Twitter: @MacmillanUSA

Advocates can also customize this template (Microsoft Word document) available on ALA's eBooks Advocacy page.