On November 1, 2019 Macmillan, one of the five major publishers in the country, implemented an embargo on library e-book purchases. This embargo prevents libraries of any size from purchasing more than one copy of newly released e-books for the first eight weeks after publication.
By restricting libraries ability to purchase e-books, which libraries pay a premium to access for limited or metered periods of time, Macmillan is limiting the public’s ability to access new materials. Macmillan is doing this because the company believes libraries lending digital materials are hurting their e-book sales; however, there is no data to support this claim.
In Marion County, as well as across the country, Macmillan’s actions could lead to patrons waiting months or longer for access to some e-books, which will seriously impact patrons who rely solely on the library’s digital content to meet their information needs. Their actions also set a dangerous precedent which may influence other publishing companies to follow in Macmillan’s footsteps.
For these reasons, the Marion County Library System (MCLS) will not be purchasing newly released print books, e-books, or e-audiobooks from Macmillan Publishers and its imprints effective immediately. MCLS plans to implement this boycott for at least 12 weeks as part of a national movement to protest Macmillan’s recent actions to restrict sales of its e-books to libraries.
“MCLS has chosen to participate in this boycott because this embargo will hurt many of our patrons who rely on our e-resources,” said Library Director Holly Evans. “While the boycott may cause slight delays for local readers in the beginning, the benefits for our patrons will far outweigh this inconvenience. At this time, we ask our patrons have patience and understand that we are acting with their interests in mind.”