Local libraries push back against e-book embargo coming next month

ELMONT, NY — Linda Fisher is a regular at the Elmont Memorial Library.

She like many take advantage of the library’s vast collection of e-book titles, especially now that she’s on a mission to learn Spanish.
“You can listen to it anywhere,” she said. “I could listen to it instead of having the CDs you know, on my telephone.”

There's an array of titles all at your fingertips.

A typical e-book costs roughly $12, but if the title is available at your local library - it’s free.

It’s one of the main reasons why a major book publisher is changing the way it sells ebooks to libraries nationwide.

Over the summer, Macmillan announced that starting next month it will only allow libraries to purchase a single copy of its new titles for the first eight weeks of its release.

The company’s CEO said in a company memo that libraries were killing its sales, referring to the fact that 45% of readers downloading e-books were getting it for free at their local library.

Officials with the Nassau County library system. along with librarians and elected officials. are calling on Macmillan to reverse its e-book embargo, insisting it targets underserved communities.
“It’s going to hurt our low-income families, our senior citizens and especially our disabled community,” Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages said at a press conference Thursday.

Despite the pushback from librarians across the country. including an online petition, the company doesn’t appear to be backing down.

The embargo will go into effect on Nov. 1, inadvertently sending libraries back in time.

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