Macmillan ebooks: What You Need to Know
Macmillan, a major U.S. book publisher, is making significant changes to ebooks purchased by libraries. Beginning Nov 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers will allow libraries to purchase only one copy of newly released ebooks for the first eight weeks after a book’s release. After eight weeks, libraries may purchase additional copies at a higher price for a 2-year term limit.
Beginning Nov 1, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, along with several other major public libraries, will suspend purchasing of Macmillan ebooks. We have also decided not to re-purchase backlist Macmillan ebooks requiring a renewal to continue access.
This is a mission-driven decision. Our mission is to spark curiosity and connect our community through literacy and learning. We believe Macmillan’s decision to restrict access to new titles available to library readers is in opposition to our core value of providing free and equal access to books and all types of information.
This is also a business decision. Publishers are key suppliers of ebooks libraries buy. As of Nov 1, we have a supplier that is not performing satisfactorily in terms of pricing or restricted availability. If this were a different type of market, we’d just go elsewhere for this particular commodity, but Macmillan is the sole source for ebooks by certain authors.
The library did have a choice – to buy one copy of an ebook title and not meet our readers’ demand for a popular title or to suspend purchases of Macmillan ebooks and to fulfill our readers’ interest in Macmillan authors with alternatives like print books and digital audiobooks. We’ve chosen to suspend Macmillan ebook purchases. We will divert funds that would have been used to purchase those ebooks to purchase other formats and to do business with publishers who are willing to sell to libraries without restrictions that limit our readers’ access to new ebooks.
This decision does not apply to Macmillan digital audiobooks or Macmillan print books, which are not restricted to libraries. This decision affects Macmillan ebook titles only and applies only to Macmillan ebooks on OverDrive (Libby app), the service the library uses to distribute ebooks.