As you may have read in the news, recent changes in the publishing industry will soon impact library customers’ access to some newly released ebook titles. Macmillan Publishers—one of the "Big 5" book publishers in the United States— recently announced that effective November 1, libraries would only be permitted to purchase one ebook copy of newly released titles for the eight weeks following publication. This "embargo" on purchasing more than one copy will mean that our customers will have to wait much longer to read newly published Macmillan works, as we will only be able to offer one single ebook copy to our public for the first two months after its release.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "Macmillan is betting that many consumers will be frustrated at the long waiting periods that are likely to develop if libraries have only one digital copy and will instead buy the books they want to read at retailers like Amazon.com Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc. or independent bookstores." This is in contrast to studies that show that library promotions of ebooks drive sales in both print and digital copies.
We know how important it is for libraries to be able to provide access to all types of content to you, our readers, for lifelong learning as well as for enjoyment. The issue of publishing terms for ebooks goes straight to the heart of equity and access that are core to libraries’ ability to serve the public.
The Free Library is in conversations with libraries nationwide about this issue. We will stand with other leaders in our field to fight for equal purchasing access to digital materials so that we can continue to serve you, our public, in the best way possible.
This week, the American Library Association announced the creation of a petition where library lovers nationwide can add their voice in advocating for #eBooksforAll. Please visit ebooksforall.org to add your name!