Library News

EBPL Boycotting Macmillan Publishers

EBPL Boycotting Macmillan Publishers

Posted November 24, 2019

Effective November 1, 2019, East Brunswick Public Library joins libraries nationwide by no longer purchasing eBooks published by Macmillan and its many imprints. More Info

Why is this happening?

Macmillan Publishers is changing its eBook licensing terms with libraries, allowing them to only purchase one copy of each new title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release. This policy is regardless of library size; a small rural library serving a community of 2,000, a large metropolitan system like New York Public Library or even a statewide program like eLibraryNJ (which East Brunswick Public Library participates in) can only purchase one copy of an eBook. After eight weeks, libraries will be allowed to buy additional copies, but at a higher price.
Limiting access to new titles for libraries in any format means limiting readers’ access to the materials they want to read. Such an arbitrary embargo sets a dangerous precedent. Macmillan’s policy now applies only to new titles, but what might they embargo next? 
Currently, this limits the availability to new books from popular Macmillan authors Liane Moriarty, Louise Penny, J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts, Lisa Scottoline, Steve Berry and Brad Meltzer. MacMillan’s policy is disconcerting because it could influence other publishers to institute similar restrictions.
The business of purchasing eBooks is complicated for public libraries, especially when compared to consumer eBooks. There are several factors, ranging from release dates, licensing renewals and higher purchase pricing, that make this a big issue for libraries. Somerset County Library System put together this guide that explains why it is much more complicated for a public library to make eBooks available to their customers than it is for an individual to buy a copy of an eBook. (
What does this mean for East Brunswick Public Library customers?
New titles by authors published by Macmillan will only be available in print, and they will not be available as eBooks. It also means that some titles in our eBook collection will disappear. As licensing for Macmillan titles expire, they may not be renewed. 
What can you do?
There are several different ways that you can show your concern.

  • Add your name to the public petition at
  • Tweet @MacmillanUSA with the hashtag #eBooksForAll
  • Send a letter to John Sargent, Chief Executive Officer Macmillan Publishing 120 Broadway New York, NY 10271.
If you have any questions or concerns about how the Macmillan boycott effects East Brunswick Public Library, please email Stephanie Filippone, Head of Adult Services.