How the eBook embargo impacts you

What’s happening with Macmillan?  Macmillan, one of the Big Five publishers in the United States and publisher of many best-selling authors, including Stephen King and Nora Roberts, has decided to severely limit the number of ebook copies that libraries are able to purchase in the first eight weeks after a title’s publication. This is an embargo. After this embargo period, libraries will be able to provide full access to these titles, but at increased prices. 

What does this mean for Wisconsin's Digital Library patrons? There will be extremely limited access to Macmillan titles the first eight weeks after publication. We will be allowed to purchase 16 copies of any title for the entire state. Assuming two-week lending periods, only 84 customers in Wisconsin will have the opportunity to read these titles during the first eight weeks.

Hold times for Macmillan titles will increase. Because there will be more unmet demand from the first eight weeks of publication, hold lines will be longer unless we choose to purchase many more copies of Macmillan titles. It’s unlikely that we will choose to spend more money with Macmillan, given their unfriendly policies toward libraries. We want to invest money with publishers that support libraries and library patrons. We may be making purchasing choices to redirect money away from Macmillan. 

How can I take action? The American Library Association (ALA) has a petition that you can sign to tell Macmillan you don’t agree with this policy. Visit #eBooksForAll to sign the petition and learn more.