From the Director — November 2019

This entry has been published on January 5, 2019 and may be out of date.


Important notice to Summit Library patrons who use our eLibraryNJ eBook service:
Beginning November 1st Macmillan Publishers and their many subsidiaries including Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Holt, St. Martin’s Press and others, will allow libraries to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book is released. After that time, libraries can then license access to additional copies for about $60 per copy for a term of two years or 52 lends, whichever comes first. This limitation applies to all libraries or groups of libraries no matter the size. Since the Summit Library is a member of the eLibraryNJ consortium, the entire consortium counts as a single library in Macmillan’s definition and would therefore only be entitled to a single copy for the entire consortium. The eLibraryNJ consortium consists of 37 independent libraries, the 32 libraries that are members of the Libraries of Middlesex County Consortium (LMxAC) and the 10 branches of the Mercer County Library System. Macmillan’s embargo would therefore have 79 New Jersey libraries sharing one eBook copy of each title for the first eight weeks after publication.
Macmillan’s CEO John Sargent explained his thinking in a memo to authors, illustrators and agents on July 25th by saying that “library lending was cannibalizing sales” and library “marketing…” is actively turning “purchasers in to borrowers… For Macmillan,

45 percent of the eBook reads in the U.S. are now being borrowed for free from libraries.” Library Journal’s Generational Reading survey refutes Sargent in its finding that 60% of millennial readers said that they later purchased a copy of a book that they had first checked out from their library and 77% said that they later purchased other books by an author they discovered at their library.

ELibraryNJ will stop purchasing eBooks published by Macmillan and its subsidiaries on November 1st in protest to this embargo. Many libraries across the country will boycott Macmillan by not purchasing eBooks and print copies as well. Summit is an “Advantage” member of eLibraryNJ, meaning that we often buy a separate copy of eBook titles for the use of our Summit patrons in order to lessen waiting time. Advantage members will have the opportunity to continue to purchase Macmillan titles according to Macmillan’s embargo rules if we so choose. The Board of Trustees will discussed whether to join the nationwide boycott or continue to purchase a single Advantage title at their meeting on November 13th.
Our great fear is that if Macmillan is successful in limiting libraries’ eBook acquisitions, other publishers will follow suit thereby limiting access to eBooks only to those who can afford to or choose to purchase eBooks independently. You can help libraries in this battle by signing a petition telling Mr. Sargent that access to eBooks should not be delayed or denied to libraries at Help us to keep eBooks available for all.

Susan Permahos, Director
Summit Free Public Library