TSLAC Director Mark Smith on “Libraries and the E-Book Market–Where Do We Stand?”
UPDATED POST: Coverage From Andrew Albanese / Publishers Weekly: ALA Midwinter 2020: Macmillan CEO John Sargent, Librarians Spar Over E-Book Embargo
I am currently attending the American Library Association Midwinter conference in Philadelphia. This morning I sat in on a meeting with Mr. John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan Publishing and a room full of librarians in various states of anger and frustration. The reason for their ire is Macmillan’s policy, which went into effect in November, to embargo (Macmillan calls it windowing) the sale of new e-book titles to libraries following publication.
In today’s meeting he divulged that 55% of “reads” of e-books are by library borrowers. And, most importantly, he acknowledged that eight weeks into this model, the data indicated that Macmillan was losing money on e-book sales. Mr. Sargent was quick to say that he expected that the next eight weeks would be critical.
Librarians have indicated a willingness to discuss with Macmillan other models that would be more profitable for the company and more agreeable to libraries. I think it is too early for that. Let’s see what happens.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.