For immediate release | August 23, 2019

ALA releases template for state, local library action opposing Macmillan eBook embargo

Today, the American Library Association (ALA) and its public library division, the Public Library Association (PLA), added a new tool to resources available for state library chapters and local library boards to speak out against new planned restrictions for library eBook lending. The new customizable template addresses a new licensing model by Macmillan Publishers that would allow a library to purchase only one copy of a new title in eBook format upon release. After this time, Macmillan will impose an eight-week embargo on a library’s ability to purchase additional copies to lend.

“As ALA President Wanda Brown said in July, this is unacceptable, and Macmillan needs to hear from more of us that this embargo hurts readers, libraries and authors,” said Alan Inouye, ALA senior director of public policy and government relations. “The time to speak is now—before the embargo is scheduled to go into effect on November 1.”

ALA, PLA, and our members—along with many authors, library patrons and other library organizations—are calling out Macmillan, in particular, as the sole major publisher that is restricting access to its new eBooks. The embargo, however, is the latest evidence of a troubling trend in the publishing industry to eliminate perpetual access in favor of limited licenses (e.g., need to repurchase after two-year license) and library licensing costs that are four to five times that of consumer purchases. ALA and its units are developing strategies to address this trend in the long term and will explore all avenues to ensure libraries can provide access to information for all, without arbitrary limitations that undermine libraries’ abilities to serve their communities.

Learn more and find resources to take action here and here. We strongly encourage you to share your resolution and statements by email at so that we are able to track our national impact.


Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy