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Newton Free Library joins national boycott of Macmillan eBook purchasing

by Jill Mercurio on 2020-02-12T15:37:00-05:00 | Comments

The Newton Free Library Board of Trustees voted on February 12, 2020 to join 84 other public library systems across the US in boycotting the purchase of Macmillan eBooks.

Why did the Board make this decision?

For many years, libraries have been a valued partner of book publishers. In a sharp break with this history of cooperation, Macmillan, one of the country’s five major publishers, announced on November 1, 2019, that it will restrict libraries from buying more than one copy of any new Macmillan eBook title during the first two months of publication.  Specifically:

  • This embargo prevents us from providing you access to new Macmillan eBook titles.
  • We are the Newton Free Library. That means materials and access to information is free for all. The embargo aims to turn library patrons into consumers, forcing people to buy what they can’t borrow. That unfairly targets users who prefer to read eBooks for accessibility and format flexibility.
  • Other publishers are watching. Without action by libraries, there’s reason to think they may follow suit and no reason to think restrictions will stop there. 

Our hope is that Macmillan will realize the negative impact its restriction has on libraries and overturn its embargo. 

How does this affect me?

Effective immediately, Newton Free Library will stop purchasing new Macmillan eBook titles and those of its imprints (Tor, Henry Holt, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martin’s Press, and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group) on Overdrive/Libby.

While the boycott is in place, we will be happy to find Macmillan titles for you in other formats, such as print or audio. We will continue to purchase Macmillan titles that are not subject to this embargo.

Want more information?

The American Library Association is sponsoring a petition and is seeking signatures from readers and library users: https://ebooksforall.org/


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