E-Book Embargo

As of Nov. 1, 2019, a publisher is restricting e-book purchases;
Here’s what it could mean to you

ebook accessBeginning Nov. 1, 2019, libraries, including The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC), will be able to purchase only one copy of each new e-book title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release due to an embargo from Macmillan Publishers.

When our patrons hear about a hot new title from a popular Macmillan author, it will be eight (8) weeks before it is available to PLYMC cardholders as an e-book.

Please note that this applies only to e-books; print books and e-audiobooks will remain available. PLYMC patrons wanting a specific title should look to print and e-audio versions as an alternative.

To help patrons avoid getting on long hold lists for e-books, PLYMC will publish monthly lists of embargoed titles.

What can you, as a library patron and e-book reader, do? Through social media, you can tweet, post on Facebook, or write your favorite authors and tell them how important it is to you to have their e-books available through your library. Ask these authors to support libraries to their publishers.  Authors may not have any idea this is happening.

These e-books, being released in November, are affected by the restrictions placed on library purchases by Macmillan Publishing*:



Anything for You–A Novel: Valerie Hart Series, Book 3Saul Black
Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators who Changed AmericaSherrod Brown
The Mutations: A NovelJorge Comensal, Charlotte Whittle
The Angels’ Share: Wine Country Mystery Series, Book 10Ellen Crosby
JAY-Z: Made in AmericaMichael Eric Dyson, Pharrell
A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan LeeDanny Fingeroth
With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and GraceNikki R. Haley
Don’t Keep Your Day Job: How to Turn Your Passion into Your CareerCathy Heller
Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic ChurchAusten Ivereigh
The Worst Kind of Want: A NovelLiska Jacobs
Jet Girl: My Life in War, Peace, and the Cockpit of the Navy’s Most Lethal Aircraft, the F/A-18 Super HornetCaroline Johnson
Upon the Flight of the Queen: The Ring-Sworn Trilogy, Book 2Howard Andrew Jones
Murder Off the Page: The 42nd Street Library Mystery Series, Book 3Con Lehane
In the Dream House: A MemoirCarmen Maria Machado
Blind Search: Mercy and Elvis Mystery Series, Book 2Paula Munier
The Book of Lost SaintsDaniel José Older
The Rise of Magicks: Chronicles of The One, Book 3Nora Roberts
Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and LawJeffrey Rosen
The Russian Job: The Forgotten Story of How America Saved the Soviet Union from RuinDouglas Smith
An Irish Country Family–An Irish Country Novel: Irish Country Books Series, Book 14Patrick Taylor
The Dog I Loved: A NovelSusan Wilson

* Restrictions apply to e-books only. Please check for the availability of print copies and audiobooks in the Library’s catalog.

Helpful Links

Sign the petition. More information about Macmillan’s embargo on the American Library Association’s #eBooksforall website.

American Library Association responds to letter from Macmillan

Raw Deal in Ebook Pricing
By Jessamyn West, Information Today

Customer Address from bibliotheca
By Tom Mercer, SVP of Digital Products, bibliotheca

Book Publishers Putting Embargo on Libraries
By Timothy G. Kambitsch, Dayton Daily News

U.S. Congressional Committee Investigating Library Concerns about Restricted Access to E-Books 

YOUNGSTOWN (October 24, 2019/For Immediate Release) – The American Library Association (ALA) is providing information to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee for the committee’s bipartisan investigation of competition in digital markets. This is due to the increasing inability of libraries to purchase digital materials from giants in the publishing industry.  

Macmillan Publishers recently announced that beginning November 1, 2019, libraries will be able to purchase only one copy of each new e-book title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release. That means readers will be on long lists, waiting to read the newest titles. The e-book titles from Amazon Publishing are not available to libraries at any price. And other publishers may follow suit. The Big 5 publishers are Hatchette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. The American Library Association noted: “The Big 5 publishers control over 80% of the trade book business in the United States.”  

Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County Executive Director Aimee Fifarek says, “I am pleased that the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has chosen to investigate the competitive practices of digital publishing industry leaders.  The mission of public libraries is to connect people with the information they need to succeed in life.  In turn, we have the responsibility to be good stewards of the public monies we are entrusted with to provide that service.  Practices like Amazon’s refusal to sell content to libraries and Macmillan’s decision to not allow libraries to purchase sufficient content meet those needs is a significant barrier to libraries’ ability to provide fair access at fair pricing.  The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County supports the American Library Association’s response to the Judiciary Committee’s inquiry. 

The ALA, issued a news release and report today. The ALA notes that their report “underscores practices by companies like Amazon and Macmillan Publishers that threaten Americans’ right to read what and how they choose and imperil other fundamental First Amendment freedoms.”  

The ALA news release quotes Alan Inouye, ALA senior director of public policy and government relations: “When Amazon – the world’s fifth largest publisher of e-books – refuses to sell to libraries, or when a Big 5 publisher like Macmillan places an eight-week embargo on e-book sales to America’s libraries, we believe it is time to take legislative action.” 

In a letter to Mary Ghikas, CEO of the American Library Association, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary states: “The House Judiciary Committee is investigating competition in digital markets. The focus of this bipartisan investigation is to examine (1) competition problems in digital markets; (2) whether dominant firms are engaging in anti-competitive conduct online; and (3) whether existing antitrust laws, competition policies, and current enforcement levels are adequate to address these issues.”  

To learn more or for a link to the “e-books for all” petition, go to https://www.libraryvisit.org/ebooksforall/

# # #

Link to news release on ALA website:


E-Book and eAudiobook Resolution – Board of Trustees of The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County

WHEREAS, Ohio’s public libraries currently serve more than 8.4 million individuals; and The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County has more than 103,000 cardholders, and

WHEREAS, Ohio’s public libraries have the highest use per capita in the nation; and The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County had an estimated 205,000 checkouts in 2018 for eBooks and eAudiobooks, which is an 98% increase from 2014 checkouts, and

WHEREAS, 1.58 million Ohioans live below the poverty line in families where eBooks are an unaffordable luxury, and rely on libraries to provide free access to information and resources that support children’s education, provide self-improvement opportunities, and offer recreational reading options, and

WHEREAS, the “Community Reading Event Impact Report,” released by the Panorama Project has shown that access to eBooks through libraries led to increased e-book sales, and

WHEREAS, the US publishing industry earned $25.83 billion in revenue in 2018, with downloaded audio seeing 28.7% growth over 2017, and

WHEREAS, the major publishers have recently announced new policies for eBooks and eAudiobooks that severely limits public libraries’ ability to purchase, or delays the purchase, of digital copies of materials and information, and

WHEREAS, these restrictive policies directly impact the ability of Ohio’s public libraries to serve the 11.6 million people of Ohio and adequately provide access to materials and information, and

WHEREAS, the new eBook and eAudiobook policies represent a significant financial burden impacting taxpayer supported public libraries’ overall operations and services, with The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County spending over $450,000 in 2018 on eBooks and eAudiobooks, a 201% spending increase compared to 2014, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED on this day of September 12, 2019, that we, the Board of Trustees of The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County call upon Blackstone Audio, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster to 1) reconsider these recently announced restrictive and onerous policies; and 2) engage in a meaningful and direct dialogue and exchange of information with libraries, library consortia, library associations, authors, executives from Overdrive, and other relevant stakeholders for the purpose of devising new policies that ensure equitable access to Ohio’s 8.4 million library users.

Adopted  PLYMC Board of Trustees September 12, 2019