I’ve blogged several times recently about how publishing companies are making it difficult for public libraries to purchase copies of popular, new release ebooks. I was unable to read VE Schwab’s wonderful Vengeful for four months because the publisher Tor would not sell the library a digital copy until then.
Now, Tor’s parent company Macmillan has announced that it will only sell a single copy of each new ebook to each library for the first eight weeks after its release. That’s a single copy per library, no matter how big or small.
I disagree with this policy as I feel it hurts libraries and their patrons unfairly, and if you feel the same I urge you to sign the American Library Association’s petition opposing Macmillan’s policy.
Sign the petition at ebooksforall.org
I also personally will not buy any Macmillan/Tor ebooks until the policy is changed.
Macmillan is concern that library lending is cutting into ebook sales, but they have released no data to back this claim. They are hoping that frustrated library patrons will choose to buy the book rather than wait (for example, my longest hold for a single copy book on Overdrive right now is optimistically estimated 8 months).
But the general public is not aware of the details of the ebook deals between the publishing industry and libraries, so those frustrated patrons will probably blame the libraries for not providing adequate service. This puts the libraries is a really bad position, especially in districts like mine where the public library is funded in part through voted tax levies.
I rely on library ebooks heavily for my reading, so I believe Macmillan’s policy is bad news for me. I have already signed the petition, and I hope you will do the same and also spread publicity about this topic.