Macmillan Publishers announced a new eBook lending model for libraries on July 25, 2019, which will limit libraries to purchasing just one copy of popular titles for the first eight weeks after an eBook is released. This embargo will significantly increase waiting time for new titles, which may have more than 100 people on hold for an eBook upon release, such as Nora Roberts' latest title, Under Currents. Other authors published by Macmillan include M.C. Beaton, J.D. Robb, and Mary Kay Andrews.
For example, if the first few patrons waiting for the eBook have a two-week checkout limit, this means only four patrons will get a chance to check out the book before the library can purchase additional titles and ease the long lines of patrons waiting to check out the eBook. Although patrons can download eBooks for free from the library, they work similarly to print books in that there are limited numbers of copies for each title that can be checked out at one time.
The American Library Association immediately denounced this new lending model in a press release, which is set to begin Nov. 1, 2019. Some libraries, including Cuyahoga Library in Ohio, and other library advocates have taken their stand against the change on Twitter, using the hashtag #eBooksForAll. Those who rely on library eBooks for the latest title releases will be impacted the most since they will likely have at least an eight-week added delay before they can check out a popular eBook.
This change is one of several recent adjustments publishers have made to their lending models for libraries, which will impact our ability to provide access to eBooks and digital audiobooks. Since last fall, several major publishers have reduced libraries continual access to eBooks and digital audiobooks, limiting access to two years, meaning that libraries will have to repurchase popular titles after a two-year period.
“OverDrive is disappointed with the lending model changes being implemented that limit the options institutions have with their content,” CEO Steve Potash wrote. “We continue to advocate that publishers and authors are best served by offering multiple, flexible, and reasonable terms for libraries and schools to lend digital content.”