“Banned Books Week, celebrated this year from September 22-28, usually is about challenging outright censorship,” wrote Kent Oliver, director of the Nashville Public Library, for a recent opinion piece published in his hometown newspaper. Now, “publisher Macmillan’s new e-book embargo must be challenged too.”

We couldn’t agree more, Kent!

eBook embargo limits what libraries provide

“Censorship is commonly regarded as removing or altering materials because of content. An embargo is a type of censorship by restriction — curtailing access based on financial status,” Oliver added. “It underlies the idea that only those with the ability and willingness to pay deserve access to new information. This philosophy is counter to everything that public libraries stand for.”

One of the biggest book publishers in the industry, Macmillan has said library eBook use is hurting its sales. So come Nov. 1, it plans to restrict libraries so that they can only buy one copy of each eBook they publish for the first eight weeks after a book’s release.

For Oak Park, that means we can buy and offer access to only one copy of an eBook for 52,000 people for the first two months the book is out.

If Macmillan succeeds with its plans, more big publishers are likely to do the same. This translates into less access and longer waits for you to read and listen to library digital materials.

Providing equitable, open access to materials is core to who we are and what we do for our community. As such, we are encouraging everyone to speak up and let Macmillan know what they think about this change.

Sign a petition at eBooksForAll.org

If you believe public libraries should have the ability to purchase eBooks and digital audiobooks without restrictions, please sign the petition at eBooksForAll.org.

You can also contact Macmillan CEO John Sargent directly:

Macmillan Publishers

John Sargent, CEO

120 Broadway St.

New York, NY 10271



Twitter: @MacmillanUSA

David J. Seleb 

Executive director, Oak Park Public Library

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