The Nashville Public Library has escalated its fight against one of the nation’s largest publishers.
It will no longer purchase new e-books put out by MacMillan, at least through next spring. The change is meant to protest a MacMillan policy that went into effect Nov. 1, which restricts its new releases so that libraries can only purchase one electronic copy for the book’s first eight weeks.
Nashville Public Library is a business supporter of WPLN.
MacMillan Publishers did not respond to WPLN’s request for comment, but in a July statement, MacMillan CEO John Sargent said his company had “growing fears that library lending was cannibalizing sales,” and noted that nearly half of the people reading their e-books were getting them for free at the library.
But Kent Oliver, director of the Nashville Public Library, argues the opposite: Their readership actually helps the publishing industry, he says.
“People that use libraries and check out books at libraries are more likely to purchase books,” Oliver says. “So in effect we’re marketing for the publishers and the authors all the time.”
Libraries across the country are fighting MacMillan on this, though only a few other systems are suspending their e-book purchases, according to American Libraries Magazine.
In Nashville, the library says about 5% of its e-book collection — and 8% of e-book checkouts — are MacMillan titles. The existing titles will not be affected.
As for new releases, the public library will still offer them for free — but only in hard copy.