MacMillan boycott

The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC), of which Topsfield is a member, recently announced its decision to boycott the purchase of new e-book titles by MacMillan Publishers and its imprints.

In November 2019, MacMillan set an embargo on ebook titles, prohibiting libraries from purchasing more than one ebook copy of new titles for eight weeks after the title’s release. This would mean that our consortium of 36 libraries would only be allowed one copy of each MacMillan title, to be shared between all of our patrons. MacMillan’s hope is that readers will purchase a copy of the ebook privately, instead of waiting two months or more for a library copy to become available.

MVLC is boycotting to protest these restrictions for the following reasons:

  • These restrictions prevent libraries from meeting user demand.  They particularly affect users with disabilities, who often prefer ebook formats due to the light weight of reading devices and the ability to modify font size and style.
  • Several large publishers are beginning to place restrictions on library purchasing.  We believe this pattern will continue unless libraries advocate for better services.
  • Libraries are funded by taxpayers, and must spend taxpayer money wisely and responsibly.  Working with publishers that place limits on purchasing is irresponsible when there are several other publishers that do not have limits.
  • Library budgets do not increase at the same rate at which costs increase.  Limitations on purchasing will only lead to fewer books in our collection.

Our hope is that MacMillan will realize the negative impact that their restrictions have on libraries, and will overturn the embargo.  We also hope to prevent other publishers from following their example and enacting similar restrictions on libraries.

While the boycott is in place, we will be happy to find MacMillan titles for you in other formats, such as print or audio. We can also help you find similar titles or authors from other publishers.

If you would like to contact MacMillan with your own feedback, you may do so by emailing them at elending.feedback@macmillan.com.  Please also consider signing the “Ebooks for All” petition at https://ebooksforall.org.  Thank you for advocating for libraries! 

If you have any further questions on the boycott, please contact library director Laura Zalewski.