As I’m sure you’ve heard, Macmillan Publishing has already begun its embargo against library ebooks as of November 1st. If you haven’t heard, let’s catch you up: Read/listen to this NPR story by Lynn Neary.
In a nutshell, Macmillan Publishers is restricting libraries from purchasing more than one copy of an ebook during the first 8-weeks of publishing. Libraries are allowed to purchase one perpetual-use copy at the regular retail price (normally libraries pay much more for an ebook). After the 8-week embargo, they are allowed to purchase more copies at the regular library cost. This has caused a wave of criticism from libraries across the nation and from ALA, whose central mission is: equitable access for all.
Mark Smith, the Texas State Librarian, provided a really great overview in his blog post from Monday, November 4th after meeting with Macmillan CEO, John Sargent. He explains Mr. Sargent’s thinking about the situation, but ties up his post by showing how if there are no repercussions for Macmillan implementing this model, other ebook vendors might adopt the same policies. This type of purchasing model from ebook vendors has the potential to disrupt library ebook lending for all libraries. This includes school libraries.
As school librarians in 2019, we have enough trouble getting students to become lifelong readers. Making them wait 8 weeks longer for the book they want is not going to help us.
There is a petition circulating around social media library groups that is housed on www.ebooksforall.org. If you sign it, you’ll receive an email from the ALA stating “We ask you to share your experiences with the embargo now that it is in effect. Screenshot your waitlist and share your story on the #eBooksForAll hashtag about how the embargo is impacting your community.
You play a vital role in ALA’s advocacy work. If you haven’t already signed up as an advocate, please do so here: http://bit.ly/ALAadvocate2019. And be sure to follow ALA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on all of our ongoing efforts and, in particular, the progress of this campaign.” We urge you to be an advocate for library ebooks.