Publishers Restricting eBook Access

October 24, 2019

Starting November 1, Macmillan Publishers is placing severe restrictions on libraries’ ability to lend popular digital content by allowing only one copy of any new eBook title for the first eight weeks after the book’s release.  This will result in much longer wait times for any new eBook title from Macmillan.


Through this embargo, not only will Macmillan limit the public’s access to popular eBooks, but they will create a barrier for customers who cannot afford to purchase digital content, and for those who rely on their public library to access digital information. This particularly impacts people with visual or learning disabilities who use eBooks for the ease of changing the font size. MacMillan’s new model for eBook lending will make it difficult for libraries to ensure access for all – which is central to our mission.

In response to Macmillan’s action, the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC), Urban Libraries Council (ULC), American Library Association (ALA), public library leaders and other key stakeholders have joined together in opposition to Macmillan’s policy change. Libraries are a critical connector between authors and readers, and we fundamentally believe in open access to books, information and ideas.

VIRL has taken an active role in this issue by reaching out to Mayors across our service area, asking for their support, and by bringing this to the attention of all Federal candidates in the communities we serve.

We are asking all eBook lovers and those who believe in equal access to information to stand up for libraries’ ability to buy and lend the digital content you expect to find in our libraries. Please sign the petition today and demand that Macmillan provide you access to the new titles you want when you want.

Thank you for supporting Vancouver Island Regional Library, and library systems across North America, as we stand up for your right to access information in all forms, including newly released eBooks.


We will continue to stand up for your right to access information in all forms, including newly released eBooks.

Thank you for your support.


Rosemary Bonanno

Executive Director, Vancouver Island Regional Library