Even as popularity of digital content is growing, publishers continue to change their eBook purchasing policies for public libraries, usually to the detriment of customer access.
In spite of these challenges, libraries have continued to purchase eContent because we believe in providing popular materials in as many formats as possible for our customers. However, one publisher has recently gone too far.
Under Macmillan’s new policy, beginning on November 1, 2019, libraries can only buy one copy of an ebook when it is first released to the public. After eight weeks, we are then allowed to purchase additional copies, at which point the wait list could be hundreds of customers long. Do you want to wait months and months to read the latest mystery by Louise Penny? If Macmillan’s policy had been in place already, we would have only one copy of A Better Man to share among the 35 (and growing) holds!
We have long considered ourselves partners with the publishing community. Libraries play by the rules. We adhere to copyright laws and we are willing to pay fair prices for the content we purchase for you. Not only are we spending significant revenues on electronic content, but studies have found that borrowing eBooks and eAudiobooks actually leads to increased consumer sales for publishers, as customers find a new favorite author at their library and purchase future titles. Libraries want to purchase content from publishers and support the authors they represent, but Macmillan’s new policy needs to be rescinded so we can continue to effectively serve you.
The American Library Association, the Public Library Association, the Urban Libraries Council, and others across the country are speaking out. At Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, 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.
Mr. John Sargent, CEO
New York, New York 10271