New Macmillan Publishers Policy Restricts Library Access to Ebooks

Greene County, OH: Effective November 1, 2019, the OverDrive Digital Downloads Collaboration partners, including Greene County Public Library, will no longer purchase newly released ebooks from Macmillan Publishers. The decision was made by vote.

The vote was taken in reaction to Macmillan Publishers’ new policy restricting library ebook purchases. Under the policy, all libraries, regardless of size, will only be able to purchase one copy of each new ebook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release. The Macmillan policy severely limits public access to popular ebook titles. At the moment, Macmillan is the only publisher to institute these sorts of restrictions on library purchasing.

“Our mission statement guarantees the library is committed to upholding the public’s right of access to information as well as providing materials in a variety of formats,” says Greene County Public Library Director Karl Colón. “With both Macmillan’s embargo and the Digital Downloads Collaboration decision to suspend purchasing materials, it makes fulfilling our mission more difficult. Our patrons are going to notice fewer new ebook titles available from OverDrive on our website.”

Greene County Public Library will respond to the change by ensuring that the public has access to Macmillan titles in physical formats such as standard and large print books, and audio CDs.

Macmillian’s choice to limit access to its titles has frustrated the library community in part because downloadable materials serve the needs of many different types of readers. Library patrons, especially those with visual and other impairments, rely on ebooks for adjustable text size and spacing, and benefit from lightweight, easy-to-hold ereaders.

“We are looking forward to a resolution,” says Colón. “We thank the public for their patience while the Digital Downloads Collaboration, Ohio Library Council, American Library Association, and Macmillan continue to negotiate.”

To learn more about how the Macmillan Publishers policy affects libraries, patrons can visit ebooksforall.orgopens a new window. The site also contains a petition for concerned patrons to signopens a new window.

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CONTACT: Ryan Ireland, Communications Coordinator, 937-736-7081