On July 25, Macmillan Publishers announced that it would limit e-book lending for U.S. libraries. Its new licensing model, scheduled to take effect on November 1, 2019, would only allow a library to purchase one copy of a newly released title in e-book format before implementing an eight-week embargo on the sale of any additional copies to that library.
This embargo impacts every single library in the country, whether it be the Los Angeles Public Library that serves over four million people or the Laramie County Library that serves over ninety thousand. Regardless of population and size, type of community, or number of branches, every library will have access to only one copy of a newly released Macmillan title for the first eight weeks, forcing library patrons to endure long waitlists and limited digital access to new releases.
The embargo will be especially harmful to homebound patrons who do not have the ability to come into the library and check out their own materials, to patrons who have visual or physical impairments, and to patrons who have learning challenges and rely on the flexibility of digital content.
Libraries are in no way opposed to publishers and authors, and want to continue working with them to advocate for literacy in all forms. Readers become buyers and libraries often foster that transformation by providing access to new titles, authors, and ideas. As technology continues to progress, people become more reliant on digital content, and we want to continue providing access to the latest innovations for every single member of our community.
The new licensing model creates a hurdle for libraries and their ongoing efforts to create open, unbiased, comprehensive, and equitable access for everyone. The Laramie County Library System, along with the American Library Association and libraries across the nation, oppose this new licensing model and are urging Macmillan to reconsider the move.
To take action and join in opposing Macmillan’s decisions, please sign the American Library Association’s online petition at ebooksForAll.org . Individuals can also write to the CEO of Macmillan, John Sargent, at the address provided below, or share their opinion on social media using the hashtag #ebooksForAll.
Mailing Address for Macmillan’s CEO, John Sargent:
Mr. John Sargent
Chief Executive Officer
New York, NY 10271