Monroe County libraries boycotting e-book publisher 

The Monroe County Library System is joining other major library systems across the country in boycotting e-book titles from a major book publisher.

The library system — and through it, all of the county's public libraries — have immediately stopped purchasing e-books from Macmillan Publishers or any of its imprints. It's doing so in protest of the company's decision to limit e-book purchases by libraries.
Under the company's new terms, which went into effect at the start of the month, public libraries are permitted to buy only one copy of a new e-book for the first eight weeks of its release.  That means the entire library system would have only single copies of new e-books to share among the 744,344 residents of Monroe County, according to a press release from the library system.

Previously, the Monroe County Library System would purchase several copies of new titles so patrons wouldn't have to wait.

"In some instances, this embargo will force readers to wait a year or more to borrow an e-book published by Macmillan, whose authors include J.D. Robb, Liane Moriarty, Bill O'Reilly, and Louise Penny," wrote Patty Uttaro, director of the Monroe County Library System and the Rochester Public Library, in a recent CITY letter to the editor.
"E-books are likely to become the primary way people read in the future. Actions like Macmillan's creates a class of readers who benefit from early access to information because they can afford to buy," she wrote.

Uttaro also wrote a guest commentary for CITY in 2012 about the increasing hurdles libraries faced in providing e-books to patrons.
"Several major publishers have refused to sell or license e-books to public libraries. Some make e-books available at very high prices or impose heavy restrictions on their use," Uttaro wrote in the 2012 article. "Those obstacles severely limit library e-book selections – particularly the most popular books – and make it inconvenient for people to get e-books through their library. The projected growth of e-books over the next five years could transform that inconvenience into an encroachment on your freedom to read."

The American Library Association has denounced Macmillan's new policy and wants library users to share their opposition to it with the publisher by e-mailing [email protected]. Or they can share concerns with or objections to the policy with the ALA's Public Policy and Advocacy Office at [email protected].

The MCLS press release directs people to for more information and for a petition requesting that Macmillan reverse its decision.


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