After discussion with members of our management team, we have decided that starting on November 1, 2019, SCLSNJ will no longer purchase ebook editions of new Macmillan or Macmillan imprint titles, due to changes they are making in their licensing terms for public libraries.

  • We will purchase ebook copies as usual for Macmillan titles published up until the November 1 date.
  • Existing ebook copies of Macmillan titles in our collection will remain available until their licensing terms expire, at which point we will evaluate repurchase on a case by case basis.
  • We will continue to buy print editions of Macmillan titles as usual. For high demand titles, we plan to purchase print copies beyond our typical hold ratio in order to accommodate the additional holds and circulation that might come from patrons who would typically borrow the ebook instead.

Macmillan’s new terms are that each library is only allowed to purchase a single ebook copy in the first eight weeks after release, regardless of the library’s size — a small, rural library serving 2,000 people gets one copy, and a large system like the New York Public Library gets one copy. These new ebook terms are designed to drive consumer demand on their titles by inflating library hold queues. Macmillan’s assumption is that patrons who don’t want to wait for the single copy in the first eight weeks will simply purchase their own copies. SCLSNJ feels that if we accept these terms, it signals that we are willing to accept whatever pricing and licensing model a publisher offers, regardless of long term sustainability or fiscal responsibility. As a large library system with significant purchasing power, we have chosen not to play by these rules.

What does that mean for me?

New titles by some authors will only be available in hard copy. Macmillan and its imprints publish some of our most popular authors, including Liane Moriarty, Louise Penny, J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts, and Lisa Scottoline. We will be increasing the number of print copies we buy for popular Macmillan authors to keep the hold queues moving as quickly as we can.

Some titles in our ebook collection will disappear. As our licensing for individual ebooks expire, we may not renew that licensing for Macmillan titles.

Is there anything I can do?

  • Add your names to the public petition at
  • Continue to support SCLSNJ by checking out our books.
  • Publishers like Macmillan believe that library users represent lost sales. We know that libraries are one of the publishing industry’s best (free) promotional tools, and we want them to understand we are not the enemy. If you find a new author you love, consider supporting them by purchasing their work for yourself, or share your love by buying copies as gifts.
  • Tell Macmillan how you feel about this new policy. You can tweet @MacmillanUSA with the hashtag #eBooksForAll, or send a letter to John Sargent, Chief Executive Officer Macmillan Publishing, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.
Libraries are engines for book sales

courtesy Library Journal