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Online petition over library ebook embargo
#1  fjtorres 09-13-2019, 09:07 PM
From Slate:

https://slate.com/business/2019/09/e-book-library-publisher-buying-controversy-petition.html

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In a July memo addressed to Macmillan authors, illustrators, and agents, the company’s CEO John Sargent cited the “growing fears that library lending was cannibalizing sales” as a reason for embargoing libraries from purchasing more than one copy of new books during their first eight weeks on sale. “It seems that given a choice between a purchase of an ebook for $12.99 or a frictionless lend for free, the American ebook reader is starting to lean heavily toward free,” he claimed.

Many individual library systems and companies that work with libraries swiftly responded with objections. “Public libraries are engaged in one of the most valuable series of community services for all ages, for all audiences,” said Steve Potash, the CEO and founder of OverDrive, a company that supplies libraries with e-books. “The public library is just something that is underappreciated. It certainly is so by Macmillan.”
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The ALA decided that statements weren’t enough. “We need to have more than just libraries and librarians saying this message,” Inouye said. “It would be much more effective if nonlibrarians would say it too.” Hence the petition, which Inouye said marked a first-of-its-kind move for the organization.
ALA Petition statement:

https://p2a.co/fgcQkzV

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America’s libraries are committed to promoting literacy and a love of reading with diverse collections, programs and services for all ages. In an increasingly digital world, our libraries are investing more in eBooks and downloadable media. And millions of people discover and explore new and favorite authors through both our digital and print collections.

But now one publisher has decided to limit readers’ access to new eBook titles through their libraries.

Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers will allow libraries to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release.

Readers cannot stay silent! We need your help!

This embargo would limit libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all. It particularly harms library patrons with disabilities or learning issues. One of the great things about eBooks is that they can become large-print books with only a few clicks, and most eBook readers offer fonts and line spacing that make reading easier for people who have dyslexia or other visual challenges. Because portable devices are light and easy to hold, eBooks are easier to use for some people who have physical disabilities.

Here's the truth: Limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for readers like you.

Macmillan is the only major publisher to propose such an embargo.

The American Library Association and libraries across the country ask you to voice your opposition to Macmillan's new policy by signing this petition and telling Macmillan CEO John Sargent that access to eBooks should not be delayed or denied. We must have #eBooksForAll!
More at the sources.
Petition elsewhere.
(Note that they are only complaining and still buying MacMillan titles.)

One more thing...

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With the petition, an extraordinary step in this world, you could argue that Macmillan’s plan is already backfiring, having angered one of its major constituencies. And if the change bears out, there’s the possibility of bigger trouble for the publisher ahead: “Macmillan has a minor e-book market share compared with the other Big Five publishers, so if it is the only publisher to pursue this strategy, it may hurt the publisher’s sales to libraries while causing relatively little inconvenience to library patrons,” McGinley said. Patrons might find, when loading up their e-readers and apps, that there are more than enough non-Macmillan books out there to go around.
That's from Slate, too.
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#2  SteveEisenberg 09-13-2019, 10:45 PM
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Patrons might find, when loading up their e-readers and apps, that there are more than enough non-Macmillan books out there to go around.
It won't make the slightest difference to me. If the book is on a subject that interests me, and I read a positive newspaper review -- or if my wife asks me for it, maybe after hearing about it on NPR -- we'll still reserve it. How long the wait is has nothing to do with whether we reserve an eBook. (And it none of the libraries we have cards for have it, as determined by the Calibre add-in search tool, I'll try again in a month or two, and then try again after that.)

Now, I don't think the bean counters at Macmillan are idiots. There will be a certain number of impatient readers, able to afford to pay full price, who will read the same review, be dissatisfied when they see what the library wait time is, and will then buy the book.

I've seen some underfunded libraries where you walk in and find hardly any books from the past decade or so. This is bad. You should be able to read a biography, of a current national leader, before he or she leaves office. But two months seems to me insignificant for non-fiction (and a year would be insignificant for fiction).
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#3  barryem 09-14-2019, 08:41 PM
I added my name to the petition even though I don't have an active library card and I've never checked out a library ebook. I think libraries are important to our society, culture and our country.

Maybe Macmillan is right that libraries hurt their sales although I suspect it helps them in the long run. That isn't the issue I'm concerned with. We need libraries and we need to support them as individuals and companies. They're just too important not to.

Barry
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#4  JSWolf 09-14-2019, 08:51 PM
Quote barryem
I added my name to the petition even though I don't have an active library card and I've never checked out a library ebook. I think libraries are important to our society, culture and our country.

Maybe Macmillan is right that libraries hurt their sales although I suspect it helps them in the long run. That isn't the issue I'm concerned with. We need libraries and we need to support them as individuals and companies. They're just too important not to.

Barry
It will hurt their sales. Less library purchases at the inflated prices. This means reading other books that are available or have a much shorter wait time. It doesn't mean I'm going to buy their eBooks because of this dirty trick.
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#5  Tomk2 09-14-2019, 09:12 PM
I have a whole list of e-books that I think I might like, but that I would not buy. Those are the kind of books I download from the library. The e-books that I know I want, I buy. If it turns out I really like them, I buy a hardcover to actually own. Library lending of e-books does not change what e-books I buy, but every now and then a borrowed e-book will generate a hardcover sale. If I have to wait too long for that e-book, any hardcover sale it generates will be a used on that does the publisher no good.
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#6  teija 09-15-2019, 03:54 AM
It really looks like the bean counters at Macmillan have NO idea what demographic they are actually dealing with here. I might sign out an interesting eBook title from the library from time to time, but honestly I am not SO hardcore that I will go out and buy an eBook for myself right at release. There are too many titles on my to-read list to really bother!

I am usually a year or two behind the "trends". And by then, if it is a popular/common enough title, I've usually found a used paperback copy at one of the local thrift stores or a garage sale. I have a feeling a large percentage of those whom they would be affecting are similar. They will just move on to something else!
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#7  Tomk2 09-15-2019, 04:25 AM
I supported the library position by signing the petition, but I also do not think the publisher's position will affect my reading. New releases are not my thing unless I already know the author or the series and know I want it. Which means I would buy the ebook no matter what. The stuff that the library lets me download is stuff that I don't know that I want, so the library pays them money to have a book I probably would not buy.
The library WAS the sale, it did not prevent a sale. Every now and then an ebook is so good I actually buy a hardcover copy for my personal library because you don't own DRM protected ebooks, you just rent them. So again, if it came from a library and I liked it, it also generated another sale for the publisher, not deprived them of one.
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#8  pwalker8 09-15-2019, 08:13 AM
Quote teija
It really looks like the bean counters at Macmillan have NO idea what demographic they are actually dealing with here. I might sign out an interesting eBook title from the library from time to time, but honestly I am not SO hardcore that I will go out and buy an eBook for myself right at release. There are too many titles on my to-read list to really bother!

I am usually a year or two behind the "trends". And by then, if it is a popular/common enough title, I've usually found a used paperback copy at one of the local thrift stores or a garage sale. I have a feeling a large percentage of those whom they would be affecting are similar. They will just move on to something else!
I suspect the bean counters at McMillian have a much, much better idea of the demographics they are dealing with than anyone here. They have actually experimented with delaying releases as ebooks to libraries and looked at the results.
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#9  JSWolf 09-15-2019, 11:26 AM
Quote pwalker8
I suspect the bean counters at McMillian have a much, much better idea of the demographics they are dealing with than anyone here. They have actually experimented with delaying releases as ebooks to libraries and looked at the results.
I suspect the bean counters at McMillian have no clue at all. This isn't going to increase sales unless they lower the silly prices they charge on new eBooks.
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#10  Apache 09-15-2019, 11:42 AM
Quote JSWolf
I suspect the bean counters at McMillian have no clue at all. This isn't going to increase sales unless they lower the silly prices they charge on new eBooks.
Most bean counters at major corporations have no clue. I think it must be part of the job description. Wal Mart did away with their greeters so they could save a few million a year. Shoplifting and employee theft sky rocketed. Now they have replaced them with security guards. Security guards cost them more and are more intimidating to customers than the greeters were. The original idea behind the greeters was to lower theft losses with intimidating customers and it worked. Also locally, they just arrested a security guard at one of the local Wal Marts for stealing.
Apache
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