” In a memo to authors and agents last month, Macmillan CEO John Sargent all but blamed libraries for depressing book sales and author earnings. “Historically, we have been able to balance the great importance of libraries with the value of your work,” Sargent claimed. “The current e-lending system does not do that.”
I’m far from the first to observe this, but the claims in Sargent’s memo are questionable at best….
Do publishers and authors see the library’s relationship to them as more symbiotic, or parasitic?…”
There are dark hints that the hand of Amazon is at work in the current tensions over library e-book lending, including reports that Amazon reps have been showing publishers data to portray library e-book lending in a negative light….”
“Announced today, Better World Books, the world’s leading socially conscious online bookseller, is now owned by Better World Libraries, a mission-aligned, not-for-profit organization that is affiliated with longtime partner, the Internet Archive. This groundbreaking partnership will allow both organizations to pursue their collective mission of making knowledge universally accessible to readers everywhere. This new relationship will provide additional resources and newfound synergies backed by a shared enthusiasm for advancing global literacy. Together, the two organizations are expanding the digital frontier of book preservation to ensure books are accessible to all for generations to come.
This new relationship will allow Better World Books to provide a steady stream of books to be digitized by the Internet Archive, thereby growing its digital holdings to millions of books. Libraries that work alongside Better World Books will now make a bigger impact than ever. Any book that does not yet exist in digital form will go into a pipeline for future digitization, preservation and access. …”
“America’s libraries are committed to promoting literacy and a love of reading with diverse collections, programs and services for all ages. Libraries are invested in making sure millions of people can discover and explore new and favorite authors through digital and print collections. Downloadable content and eBooks are often many reader’s front door to accessing material at their local library.
But now one publisher has decided to limit readers’ access to new eBook titles through their libraries.
Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers allows libraries—no matter the size of their city or town—to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release….”
“In the coming months, library patrons will likely experience extended wait times for new e-books. Readers can thank Macmillan Publishers—a “Big Five” publishing house with imprints including Picador, Henry Holt and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux—for the delay: As of November 1, the company only allows library systems to purchase one electronic copy of a book during the first eight weeks following publication.
The publisher’s new policy has generated widespread outrage among librarians and book lovers alike. Macmillan, however, argues that the moratorium is necessary to ensure the publishing industry’s survival in lieu of digital lending’s increasing popularity….”
“Libraries across the U.S. are furious with one of the country’s big five publishing houses. As of Friday, Macmillan Publishers Ltd. is drastically restricting the sales of its e-books to libraries.
For the first eight weeks after an e-book goes on the market, a library system can buy only one copy. So if you are used to getting your books from a library and you are an e-book fan who has been eagerly awaiting Hillary Mantel’s next book, The Mirror and the Light, for example, you may have a long wait when it comes out in March 2020.
Under the old rules, a large library system like New York’s or Chicago’s might have ordered hundreds of e-book copies. Now each system — large or small — can buy only one when it goes on sale….”
“Several large library systems across the U.S. plan to suspend purchases beginning Friday of all electronic versions of Macmillan Publishers’ new releases, in a protest against the publishing house’s planned restrictions on library sales….
Macmillan’s library embargo, which also begins Friday, will restrict public libraries and consortium of all sizes to buying a single copy of each newly released e-book for the first eight weeks of publication….
“By limiting the number of copies our library can purchase, Macmillan is allowing only a certain segment of our society to access digital content in a timely manner — those who can pay for it themselves,” he said in a statement. “And that’s unacceptable in a democratic society.”
Last year, nearly 67,000 Columbus library patrons checked out nearly 2 million items from our digital collection. Digital content downloads continue to trend upward….”
“The American Library Association (ALA) has delivered a written report to the House Judiciary Committee telling lawmakers that “unfair behavior by digital market actors,” including Amazon and some major publishers, is “doing concrete harm to libraries.”
The report, delivered last week to a House antitrust subcommittee investigating competition in the digital market, comes as lawmakers are taking note of the growing backlash to Big Five publisher Macmillan’s decision to impose a two-month embargo on new release e-books in public libraries. In a September 13 letter to ALA executive director Mary Ghikas, the House Judiciary Committee asked ALA to respond to a set of questions in connection with its ongoing investigation, an invitation that came just days after an ALA press event at the Nashville Public Library kicked off a public awareness campaign calling attention to issues in the library e-book market. As of this writing, an ALA online petition opposing Macmillan’s planned embargo, launched at that press event, is approaching 150,000 signatures….”
“If you haven’t visited your local public library lately, you might not realize that you no longer need to physically drop by to check out a book or a movie.
Thousands of public libraries now let their members check out e-books they can download on their smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. They also lend digital audiobooks anyone can listen to as they commute and streaming online movies to view on a computer, phone, or smart TV. Like other public library materials, they’re generally available for free to anyone with a library card….
This summer, publishing giant Macmillan announced that starting November 1, library systems will only be able to buy one digital copy of every book for the first eight weeks that it’s out….
Macmillan’s move drew criticism from major libraries and the American Library Association, which launched an online petition urging Macmillan not to implement the policy. So far, it’s drawn more than 89,000 signatures, but Macmillan hasn’t announced any changes to the program yet. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment….”
“For Robert Darnton, the benefit of Controlled Digital Lending to academic authors is obvious: More people can read their work.
As the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and the University Librarian, Emeritus at Harvard University, Darnton has long been a champion of broadening access to information. He also sees the value of making materials more widely available when it comes to his own research outputs.
Darnton has made two of his books, which are both still in print, freely available online: Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment in France (Harvard University Press, l968) and The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie, l775-l800 (Harvard University Press, l979). Several other of his titles are available to borrow electronically through the Internet Archive’s Open Library….”
“Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) is an emerging method that allows libraries to loan print books to digital patrons in a “lend like print” fashion. Through CDL, libraries use technical controls to ensure a consistent “owned-to-loaned” ratio, meaning the library circulates the exact number of copies of a specific title it owns, regardless of format, putting controls in place to prevent users from redistributing or copying the digitized version. When CDL is appropriately tailored to reflect print book market conditions and controls are properly implemented, CDL may be permissible under existing copyright law. CDL is not intended to act as a substitute for existing electronic licensing services offered by publishers. Indeed, one significant advantage of CDL is addressing the “Twentieth Century Problem” of older books still under copyright but unlikely ever to be offered digitally by commercial services….”