Friday, October 18, 2019

Petition Fights Limits on eBook Sales to Libraries

Sign petition

On Nov. 1, Macmillan Publishers plans to implement restrictions on library ebook purchases. They'll allow a library to purchase only one ebook per title for the first eight weeks after a book's release. It doesn't matter the size of the library and its membership, large or small, libraries can only get one copy of Macmillan ebooks during the embargo period.

The publisher hopes to increase consumer sales by doing this, but they're giving library users the shaft. Not to mention that when libraries buy an ebook, they pay much more than you or I would. Libraries also have to renew an ebook's license after a certain time period or given number of checkouts. Make no mistake, publishers make more money than most people realize from library purchases. Checking out ebooks from your library does financially support publishers and authors.

This library website breaks down the embargo and arguments against it. A graphic found there shows that half of people who check out a book from the library will later purchase it (I know I often do this, typically when the book goes on sale). It also says 76% of library patrons will later purchase a book by an author they discovered via their library. (The graphic says these stats come from a survey in Library Journal, August 2019.)

Sign the Petition

So, what can you do? The American Library Association created a petition pleading with Macmillan to provide #eBooksForAll (you can follow the hashtag on twitter for developments). Sign the petition online before the Nov. 1 implementation date to let Macmillan know where you stand.

If not for yourself, do it for those who need these ebooks the most. As stated on the ALA petition page:
This embargo would limit libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all.  It particularly harms library patrons with disabilities or learning issues. One of the great things about eBooks is that they can become large-print books with only a few clicks, and most eBook readers offer fonts and line spacing that make reading easier for people who have dyslexia or other visual challenges. Because portable devices are light and easy to hold, eBooks are easier to use for some people who have physical disabilities.

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