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TLA Response to Macmillan eBook Embargo

Advocacy, TLA News

The Texas Library Association (TLA), with almost 6,000 members from academic, school, special and public libraries, represents one of the largest and most dynamic library markets in the country. On behalf of our members, we call on Macmillan to reverse the library eBook embargo announced in July.

This new licensing model, which allows libraries to purchase a single copy of a new title in eBook format and then imposes an eight-week embargo on the purchase of additional copies of that title, is unacceptable. It will have a chilling impact on libraries’ mission to provide access to information to everyone, in the format of their choosing.

As TLA member and Public Library Association (PLA) President Ramiro Salazar (San Antonio Public library director) stated, “Access to digital content in libraries is more than a financial issue: it is an equity issue. We encourage Macmillan Publishers to reverse course before libraries and the people they serve are harmed.”

Millions of people now prefer digital content as their preferred or only access to books, music, and movies. Digital content is portable, accessible to people with print disabilities, available anywhere 24/7, and brokered by libraries to provide diverse options to our diverse communities.

Libraries not only pay for books; they market them. Lost marketing means lost publicity and sales for publishers and authors.

TLA joins the American Library Association and PLA in denouncing this measure and calling for Macmillan to cancel the embargo and restore full access to its complete eBook catalog upon release to the public. Furthermore, TLA affirms the principles that:

  • All published works must be available for libraries to purchase and lend to library users.
  • Access to and use of eBooks must equitably balance the rights and privileges of readers, authors and publishers.
  • Digital content must be accessible to all people, regardless of physical or reading disability.
  • Library patrons must be able to access digital content on the device of their choosing.
  • Reading records must remain private in the digital age.