Multnomah County Library boycotts top publisher

Multnomah County

Macmillian is one of the largest publishes and e-book distributors

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County libraries are joining a nation-wide boycott of one of the top five book publishers in the United States.

The library announced it will no longer buy e-books from the publishing giant, Macmillan Books. The second-largest e-book distributor in the library system is tightening licensing restrictions, meaning libraries would get just one copy of new e-books for the first eight weeks after its release.

The new rule would make the wait for new books even longer for e-book readers.

E-book checkouts at the Multnomah County Libraries have grown more than 200% in the last five years. There are now 5,000 every day.

Libraries already have to buy e-books for five-six times their retail cost, then pay licensing fees every two years.

Macmillan’s CEO issued a statement Tuesday saying in part, “We are not trying to hurt libraries; We are trying to balance the needs of the system in a new and complex world. We believe windowing for eight weeks is the best way to do that.”

Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke said the publisher’s move is for one thing: “To make Macmillan more money by creating barriers for people who use library resources.”

“Libraries across the country came together when this announcement was made and said enough is enough,” Oehlke said. “We’ve put up with all of these onerous restrictions with the licensing, the crazy prices, the time limit — this embargo is over the top.”

The Multnomah County Libraries will continue to buy print and audiobooks from Macmillan and will keep previously purchased e-books.

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