Statement from Chesterfield County Public Library
on Macmillan Publishers eBook Embargo
Effective November 1, 2019, Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) will no longer purchase eBooks from Macmillan Publishers, one of five major publishers in the U.S. This change comes after Macmillan announced a new eBook embargo for all public libraries that would only allow libraries to purchase one electronic copy of a newly released title for the first eight weeks after publication.
CCPL is devoted to provide the best service possible to the customer for free, both in person and online,” says Mike Mabe, Director of Library Services. “The unsustainable nature of the publisher’s decision will impact our ability to fulfill our mission. Our digital collection is becoming increasingly popular and we are committed to utilizing public funding as effectively as possible in this space.
When Macmillan limits CCPL to purchase only one copy, holds queues will be adversely affected, resulting in extra costs for these digital materials which are already considerably more costly than print materials. CCPL’s approach will allow us to focus funds on building a digital collection that serves the needs of the community. For an explanation on eBook pricing models for public libraries, please read this article from Cheshire (CT) Public Library.
CCPL maintains an extensive digital and physical collection of materials totaling over 600,000 items. The 10 library locations serve over 281,000 cardholders with nearly 20,000 of those using the library’s digital collection online through services like Overdrive and RBDigital.
To maintain this collection, CCPL will continue to purchase eBooks from publishers who choose not to limit access to new titles. Physical copies and audiobook formats of Macmillan titles will still be purchased as they are released.
The American Library Association (ALA) has criticized Macmillan’s decision. To read the ALA’s statement, view the petition, and find out more visit http://ebooksforall.org.
Frequently Asked Questions: Macmillan eBook Embargo
Which eBooks are affected?
All eBook titles published by Macmillan or by any of the publishers that Macmillan owns. These titles will still appear in our catalog in other formats, but will not be available in eBook format.
What will happen to Macmillan eBooks that CCPL already has in the catalog?
Macmillan eBooks already in our collection will remain. You can continue to place hold requests and check them out as usual. If you have a Macmillan eBook checked out right now, it will not be affected.
Does this purchase suspension include Macmillan books in all formats?
No. This decision only affects Macmillan eBooks. We will continue to purchase print and audiobook versions of Macmillan titles.
If I submit a purchase request for a new Macmillan eBook, will it automatically be rejected?
Yes. We will not be purchasing any Macmillan eBooks. Library staff will process and consider purchase suggestions for all other Macmillan formats as usual.
I don’t know much about Macmillan. What books do they publish?
Macmillan is one of the “Big Five” book publishers in the world, along with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. They publish a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, and other genres from hundreds of different authors.
One popular author they represent is Nora Roberts, whose popular fiction series, Chronicles of The One, consistently makes bestseller lists across the country. The upcoming third installment of the series, “The Rise of Magicks”, releases Tuesday, Nov 26. Chesterfield County Public Library will buy copies in all formats of “The Rise of Magicks” except the e-book version.
How long will this suspension last?
We don’t have an end date right now.
I want Macmillan to stop their embargo, or at least offer better terms to libraries. What can I do?
You can let Macmillan know how you feel by signing the #eBooksForAll petition at ebooksforall.org by emailing Macmillan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the #eBooksForAll hashtag to spread the word on social media and lead other readers to the petition.
*FAQs adapted from Multnomah County Library