eSpotlight Alert – Macmillan Publishers Library eBook Embargo Beginning on November 1st

Several large book publishers are rethinking how they sell eBooks to libraries. These companies believe that library lending substantially cuts into their profits and have implemented purchasing rules to limit the amount of eBooks that libraries can lend to the public.

These changes have already impacted the numbers of eBooks libraries can purchase by significantly increasing the cost libraries pay per eBook copy and providing stricter limits on the length of time a library can own an eBook license. Now, certain publishers are experimenting with embargoes on the number of copies of an eBook a library can purchase.

On November 1st, 2019, Macmillan Publishing will only sell one copy of an eBook to all library systems for the first 8 weeks of its release. This will affect all of Macmillan’s publishing imprints. San José Public Library users can expect a substantial increase in hold times for Macmillan’s eBooks, including award winners and bestsellers. The Library will not be allowed to purchase additional copies to meet the amount of holds for these titles.

The San José Public Library and our vendor partners who provide the platforms for reading our eBooks strongly oppose these changes in purchasing. Rather than purchasing new content for our members to enjoy, we must divert a portion of funds into regularly repurchasing high-cost eBooks. Now, purchasing eBooks will be further limited if publishers enact embargoes.

We encourage our library cardholders to join us and libraries across the US in speaking out about these eBook purchasing limits. Please consider supporting your local libraries by reading and signing the American Library Association’s #ebooksforall petition. This petition calls upon Macmillan to reverse their new eBook purchasing policy and emphasizes how library users, libraries, authors, and publishers will benefit by removing these restrictions.

You can immediately reach out to Macmillan Publishing and express your concern at As always, we welcome your comments as well.