On Thursday Nov. 21, The Library Board voted to have Georgetown County Library system join the ongoing library purchasing boycott against Macmillan Publisher.
The decision came after the SCAPLA voted to boycott MacMillan Publishers on Nov. 20, urging all members to cease purchasing materials.
For the next 12 weeks, the library will cease ordering all materials from the company and other firms under them.
The boycott is being organized by members of the library profession, including the SC Association of Public Library Administrators in response to actions from Macmillan that drastically restrict sales of its e-books to libraries, thus restricting access by library users.
Macmillan, a New York-based company, manages over 45 imprints, including Andy Cohen Books, Bloomsburg USA, Forge, Henry Holt, Picador and more.
In October, they implemented a new embargo on e-books, limiting libraries of all sizes form buying more than one electronic copy of any Macmillan title for eight weeks after release.
It is one of the five “big publishers” of e-books and audiobooks in the U.S., Dwight McInvaill, Georgetown Library Director, told the board and that they were going to put a real “severe restriction” on libraries ability to purchase eBook.
“There are a lot of people who depend on the library to access these materials,” McInvaill said. “We support business, but we also support public access. Libraries pay a lot more than an individual for an e-book and can only use it for a certain number of checkouts.
They’re already making money off us; they just want more at the expense of public access.”
The American Library Association in response to the unfair treatment of the eBook has decided to take a stand denouncing the embargo.
More than 200,000 people have signed the ALA’s petition, urging Macmillan to lift the embargo. In an article made by ALA to the US House or Representatives, they state:
“While print books remains a staple, today’s libraries are modernizing their services to offer the latest digital technologies to meet the needs…unfair behavior by digital market actors-and the outdated public policies that have enabled them-is doing more concrete harm to libraries as consumers in digital markets. Libraries are prepared to pay a fair price for fair services…abuse of the market position by dominant actors in digital markets is impeding essential library activities that are necessary to ensure that all Americans have access to information, both today and for posterity.”
ALA uses the book called The Codebreakers by David Kahn as an example in their argument. The price of the book was quoted for $59.99 as an eBook for a consumer purchase, for lifetime access. By contrast, under these new restrictions by MacMillan, the price to libraries for the same eBook is $239.99, for one copy lasting for only two years.
McInvaill said that while some can afford this, others in the community have to watch their income such as retirees or low-income.
“It’s just not fair for them to block libraries in this way” McInvaill said “If MacMillan gets away with it, the other four publishers will follow suit.”