CHICAGO — The Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has joined its parent organization in denouncing Macmillan Publishers’ new library eBook lending model. Under the new model, scheduled to take effect November 1, a library may purchase only a single copy of each new title in eBook format upon release, after which Macmillan will impose an eight-week embargo on additional copies of that title sold to libraries. The new Macmillan eBook lending model expands upon an existing policy that took effect in July 2018, when the company, without warning, issued a four-month embargo applying solely to titles from its Tor imprint.
“We have grave concerns about Macmillan Publishers’ recent announcement, which we view as further evidence of a troubling trend in the publishing industry,” stated PLA President Ramiro S. Salazar, library director, San Antonio (Texas) Public Library. “PLA firmly objects to Macmillan’s policy, which will undermine the ability of public libraries to serve our communities. Macmillan is the sole major publisher to impose such an embargo on library eBook lending.”
PLA’s new Strategic Plan, released in 2018, reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to equity and inclusion. Through it, PLA vowed to advocate for enabling every member, library and community group to fully and equally participate in society.
“Access to digital content in libraries is more than a financial issue: it is an equity issue,” Salazar added. “We encourage Macmillan Publishers to reverse course before libraries and the people they serve are harmed.”
PLA believes Macmillan’s new eBook lending policy will limit access to new titles by the patrons who depend upon libraries most, and that access to eBooks through public libraries should not be denied or delayed.
Until the policy is changed and the embargo cancelled, PLA and ALA will explore all possible avenues to ensure that libraries can do our jobs of providing access to information for all, without arbitrary limitations that undermine libraries’ ability to serve our communities. PLA members are encouraged to visit ALA’s eBook lending action page for information and graphics to share on social media. PLA also calls on the library community and library patrons to contact Macmillan Publishers to express their objection to the company’s new policy, using the contact information below.
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The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 10,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext.5PLA, or [email protected].