Starting today (November 1st), Macmillan Publishing is changing the rules regarding how Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) can purchase eBooks. Going forward, we are only allowed to purchase a single copy of a Macmillan eBook title during the first 8 weeks of its publication. After that, we can purchase additional copies – but at inflated costs and only for a set number of checkouts.
Sound complicated? It is. All we want to do is buy eBooks, and provide access to our patrons – both for CLP and for our library partners across Allegheny County. (CLP acts as the purchasing agent for eBooks countywide, using funds from CLP, county libraries, and the Allegheny County Regional Asset District.)
For now, we can and will continue to purchase titles from Macmillan. We know that upcoming bestsellers like Sheila Weller’s Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge or Nora Roberts’ The Rise of Magicks already have growing hold lists. These new purchasing restrictions mean that wait times for eBook copies of these titles are going to go up exponentially.
We feel this is a direct barrier to access. CLP provides eBooks for everyone in the county, and we feel that everyone should be able to access these titles regardless of their ability to purchase them on their own. Moreover, we spend money on these titles, bolstering sales and providing necessary exposure for authors and the creation of an overall reading culture based on relationships between libraries, readers, authors, and booksellers. If we can’t buy these titles, this ecosystem suffers.
What you can do
While Macmillan has remained firm in keeping this policy change, the fight is far from over. Our colleagues at the American Library Association have crafted a petition at www.ebooksforall.org. We encourage you to add your name to the list, and help draw attention to this issue. That site also offers additional news, resources, and tools for spreading the word.
As always, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is steadfast in its commitment to engage the community in literacy and learning. We appreciate all your support.