Tell Macmillan Publishers That You Demand #eBooksForAll
Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers is imposing an eight-week embargo on new eBook sales to libraries. Macmillan Publishers is one of the top five largest publishers in the United States. This embargo means that for the first eight weeks after a book is released, libraries will only be able to purchase a single copy of new Macmillan eBooks. After eight weeks, we are then allowed to purchase additional copies, at which point the wait list could be hundreds of customers long. Macmillan publishes the work of thousands of authors, including popular authors like Louise Penny, Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston, and Liane Moriarty.
Macmillan has said that libraries undercut publishers’ profits by allowing readers free access to materials that they would otherwise purchase. Macmillan is presenting this as a zero-sum game—that every circulation of a library book is a lost sale for the publisher and author. While there is no data to support Macmillan’s claim that increased eBook checkouts result in lost sales, data does show that library borrowers are often the same people who buy books. Additionally, there are those in our communities who do not have the financial means to purchase all the titles they want to read. Macmillan’s new model for library eBook lending will make it difficult for libraries to fulfill our central mission of ensuring access to information for all.
Libraries bring indisputable value in marketing books and cultivating readers – at no cost to publishers or authors. Every time a library displays a new title on its “new release” shelf, hosts book clubs, or promotes a new title on social media, it provides free advertising that, cumulatively, is worth millions of dollars. This benefits readers, publishers, and authors, especially newly published authors whose work would otherwise be difficult to discover. Libraries would be much less likely to market titles that are under embargo by a publisher.
The American Library Association, the Public Library Association, the Urban Libraries Council, and others across the country are speaking out. At St. Mary’s County Library, we are adding our voice to this growing movement to say “Enough is enough!”.
We need your voice as well. This policy shift acts as an attack on the very mission of the library. We urge you to contact Macmillan to express your concerns about this recent purchasing policy decision, which limits your access to eContent.