COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)– The Columbus Metropolitan Library said it is suspending the purchase of new Macmillan eBooks as a stand against limiting equal access to library customers.
Macmillan is singling out a particular customer class, public libraries, and saying, ‘we won’t sell to you anymore,’ and on behalf of our customers who rely on us to access material, we just think that’s wrong, so it’s time to fight back.Patrick Losinski, Columbus Metropolitan Library CEO
The protest is in response to Macmillan’s limiting of public libraries to buy just one copy of each newly released e-book for the first eight weeks of publication.
Columbus joins several other large cities in their boycott, including the Nashville Public Library, the Maryland Digital Library and Washington state’s King County Library System according to the Associated Press.
Losinski says they are willing to fight this out, and the American Library Association has already submitted data to Congress.
“I think the only way this gets resolved is by more conversations,” Losinski stated. “Either it’s going to happen between Macmillan and libraries or professional organizations who represents us or it’s going to happen through conversations at the congressional level.”
The American Library Association has started an #eBooksForAll campaign in response to the limitations set by Macmillan that went into effect Nov. 1. As of Nov. 19, their petition has more than 208,000 signatures. Losinski says the state of Ohio has the most people who have signed.
“ALA’s goal is to send a clear message to Macmillan’s CEO John Sargent: e-book access should be neither denied nor delayed,” ALA Executive Director Mary Ghikas said in a press release in September.
Sargent said in an open letter to librarians in October the company is not trying to hurt libraries, but rather compromise.
“I realize the lack of availability in the first eight weeks will frustrate some e-book patrons, and that will make your jobs more difficult. Your patrons would be happy if they could get any book they wanted instantly and seamlessly, but that would be severely debilitating for authors, publishers, and retailers. We are trying to find a middle ground,” his letter states.
NBC4 has requested an interview with Macmillan Publishing but has not heard back.
You can watch the full interview with Columbus Metropolitan Library CEO Patrick Losinski in the video below.