KCLS boycotts Macmillan Publishers’ eBook embargo

  • Monday, October 21, 2019 3:37pm
  • News

The King County Library System (KCLS) will no longer purchase newly-released eBooks from Macmillan Publishers, one of five major publishers in the U.S., effective Nov. 1.

This decision comes after months of discussion and advocacy to urge Macmillan to reconsider instituting a new library eBook embargo, set to go into effect on November 1. Under Macmillan’s new lending model, public libraries of any size will only be allowed to purchase one copy of a newly-released eBook for the first eight weeks after publication.

As a large library system, KCLS maintains a “Holds to Copy” ratio of 5-to-1 to minimize wait times for popular titles. This means that for every five holds on a title, KCLS purchases one copy to ensure a maximum wait time of only three months. If KCLS is limited to one digital copy of each new title, and then had to wait eight weeks before being able to purchase more, patrons could conceivably wait years rather than months for their eBook.

“Digital equity and access to information is at stake,” states KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. “KCLS’ central mission is to provide free and equal access to information, and libraries must be able to perform this essential role in the digital realm as well. We do not want other publishers to follow the example of Macmillan and embargo books. To do so profoundly changes the public library.”

For KCLS, a library system with 50 libraries, serving more than one million residents, the new embargo hits King County patrons particularly hard. KCLS has been the top digital-circulating library in the U.S. for the last five years and third worldwide. According to Rakuten OverDrive, KCLS patrons downloaded nearly five million eBooks and audiobooks last year.

To continue to ensure reasonable wait times for newly-released electronic titles, KCLS will divert its eBook funds to publishers who are willing to sell to libraries without a purchasing embargo. They will, however, continue to purchase Macmillan titles that are not embargoed, including print materials and older copies of best-selling eBooks.

The American Library Association (ALA) has also denounced Macmillan’s decision and asks that the public express their concerns to press.inquiries@macmillan.com, or ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office at alawash@alawash.org.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Former VRFA Administrator Eric Robertson to run for 31st District seat

Former Valley Regional Fire Administrator Eric Robertson has announced his candidacy for… Continue reading

Closures on I-5 in SeaTac for Federal Way Link construction

Along southbound lanes over three weeks

King County assessor wants Legislature to fix laws to help small businesses

Changes needed because of COVID-19 impact on commercial properties

Robert Whale / Auburn Reporter
                                Protesters confront Auburn police Tuesday evening in downtown Auburn.
Hundreds gather at Auburn City Hall to protest death of George Floyd

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people gathered on the Auburn City Hall… Continue reading

Courtesy photo 
                                In this image from the 2019 Auburn Farmers Market, Ballesteros Produce displays its goods.
Auburn Farmers Market opens June 7

In early May, the city of Auburn announced it had received approval… Continue reading

King County could be in Phase 2 in two weeks

The county is also hoping the state lets them reopen several businesses by Friday.

File photo
Misbehaving woman banned from Auburn gas station | Police blotter

Following is a sample from the Auburn police log.

Screenshot from a YouTube video posted Monday by the City of Auburn with a message from Mayor Nancy Backus and other city officials.
Looting hits Auburn mall and nearby stores; mayor imposes 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew

Auburn is among the King County cities seeing protests over the death… Continue reading

Screenshot of the city’s Facebook page.
Mayor lifts emergency and curfew enacted after looting and protests

Mayor Nancy Backus has ended the civil emergency related to looting, vandalism… Continue reading

Most Read