For immediate release | October 14, 2019

Over 100,000 readers nationwide join #eBooksForAll campaign against planned embargo

Thousands more adding their names to petition daily

CHICAGO – In just one month, the American Library Association’s (ALA) #eBooksForAll campaign has garnered more than 100,000 signatures from readers, authors, library staff and patrons from all 50 states to condemn Macmillan Publishers’ plan to restrict library access to eBooks.

Beginning Nov. 1, 2019, the publisher will limit libraries to purchasing only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after its release. Additional copies will then be available for two years of access at a price quadruple consumer prices.

"The groundswell of support we've seen for our #eBooksForAll campaign underscores the vast number of readers that will be impacted by Macmillan Publishers’ planned embargo on eBook sales to libraries," said ALA President Wanda Brown. "It's clear that readers across the nation are concerned about a reduction in library access to eBooks. Together we will continue to voice our opposition and seek a resolution that does not involve arbitrary restrictions on library purchases."

An average of 3,000 people each day are signing the online petition at eBooksForAll.org, urging Macmillan Publishers CEO John Sargent to reverse the planned embargo on eBooks sold to libraries. Launched on Sept. 11, 2019, the petition currently holds the most signatures from Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Florida and New York residents.

“Access to digital content is essential for our public libraries, and Macmillan’s new eBook terms will make it difficult to fulfill our mission of ensuring timely access to digital content for all,” said Ramiro S. Salazar, president of the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of ALA, and director of the San Antonio Public Library. "The San Antonio Public Library recently topped 7 million downloads, and that number is growing exponentially by the day. We stand firmly with libraries and their patrons, readers, authors, and students across the country who refuse to see eBooks access denied or delayed."

As the Frankfurt Book Fair gets underway this week, the ALA is taking the campaign to Europe and to Macmillan Publishers’ parent company, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, encouraging readers worldwide to share their displeasure and concerns about the eBook embargo.

The embargo is the latest evidence of a troubling trend in the publishing industry to eliminate perpetual library access. Unlike print books, publishers do not sell eBooks to libraries, but offer limited licenses at prices four to five times that of consumer purchases. While Macmillan is the sole major publisher restricting access to its new eBooks, ALA is actively developing strategies to address the trend overall and ensure that libraries can provide comprehensive access to content and information, without arbitrary limitations and at fair prices.

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.

Contact:

Shawnda Hines

Asst. Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy Office

shines@alawash.org