Posted on January 21, 2020 at 8:22 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

In the face of Macmillan’s ebook license limits, enacted last year, many library systems announced that they would completely boycott the publisher’s books.

Administrators at two of these systems — Dianne Coan, division director of technical operations at Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Library, and Carmi Parker, a librarian and ILS administrator who serves on the executive advisory committee for the Washington Digital Library Consortium — recently decided to analyze the financial effect of this boycott.

According to the results, which they shared with ReadersFirst, Macmillan is most likely losing money from its policy — using Fairfax County Public Library as an example, it potentially gained $336 in retail sales from Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers (released after the embargo took effect) but definitely lost $2,010 when the library system didn’t buy a single copy of the book.

The $336 is based on Macmillan’s estimate that 8 percent of readers, upon being unable to check out a book at the library, would purchase their own copy.

The 8 percent figure was confirmed by a survey of ebook lenders at Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock, Washington.

The respondents were asked what their next step was after deciding (for any reason) not to put a hold on an ebook. 

While 8 percent said they purchased their own copy, 56 percent simply went to find another book that was available — and at that particular library, it would not be a new release from Macmillan.

Coan and Parker concluded that if 10 percent of libraries do boycott Macmillan, the publisher will see a net wash from its new policy; currently, according to their data, 8.45 percent of libraries have joined the boycott.

You can read more of Coan and Parker’s findings at ReadersFirst.

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: E-reader, Libraries

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