January 24 2020

The Burlington Public Library Announces Boycott of Macmillan eBooks


The Burlington Public Library is standing up for its patrons against what is says is an unfair practice by a big name publisher. 


Library Director Michael Wick said in a statement that on January 8, the Burlington Public Library joined with 35 other member libraries in the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC) to boycott Macmillan Publishers and its unfair practices. 


“Macmillan enacted an embargo in November 2019, prohibiting public libraries from purchasing more than one copy of any recently published eBook for eight weeks after their release,” Wick said. “For the MVLC, this means only one eBook copy would be available to library users across all its 36 communities. MVLC will not be able to meet user demand with such a restrictive policy.”


In response, the MVLC and its 36 member libraries will stop purchasing newly released eBooks published by Macmillan Publishers and its imprints. In so doing, MVLC joins the American Library Association, the Massachusetts Library Association, and many other libraries across the country in objecting to these changes. 


“Public libraries have an ethical obligation to ensure that library patrons have equitable access to a broad range of material,” Wick said. “As good financial stewards, libraries have the additional responsibility to expend tax dollars with publishers who do not put libraries at a disadvantage.”


This boycott does not apply to Macmillan products in other formats, such as print books, audio CDs, and digital audiobooks, which are not impacted by Macmillan’s embargo. Previously published Macmillan eContent already in the digital collection will not be affected.  


“During the boycott -and at any other time- librarians are happy to help patrons find other authors that they may enjoy in eBook format, or assist in placing holds for other formats such as downloadable audiobook, print book, and more,” Wick said. “Interested patrons should contact our Reference Department at 781-270-1691 or Children's Department at 781-270-1692 for any assistance.”

For more information on the Macmillan boycott, see the library's website. If patrons would like to show support for their library, they are urged to contact Macmillan directly at elending.feedback@macmillan.com or consider signing the “eBooks for All” petition found here.


Web Design by Polar Design