The Columbus Metropolitan Library is suspending purchases of e-books from a major publisher, to protest limitations being placed on libraries.
Starting Friday, Macmillan Publishers will limit libraries to one electronic copy of new books for eight weeks after their release, to protect their digital sales. Led by the American Library Association, libraries have negotiated with Macmillan for several months in an attempt to head off the restrictions.
Columbus Library executive director Patrick Losinski notes that libraries often purchase multiple electronic copies when a book is first released, paying four or more times what consumers pay. And that they are required to purchase new copies every two years or after 26 downloads. Losinski say the new restrictions from publishers effectively limits access to new material – which runs counter to the purpose of public libraries.
Last year Columbus Library patrons downloaded nearly 2 million items, nearly 20% of the items checked out from the system. Other libraries taking part in the boycott of new materials from Macmillan Publishers include the Nashville Public Library, the Maryland Digital Library and Washington state's King County Library System.