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eBooks and the Library

Posted on October 31, 2019 by

One of the things I love talking to our patrons about is eBooks. I love the beginning of the conversation – “Did you know the library has eBooks you can check out as well?” When a book is hard to find on the shelves, I love checking the Digital Library to see if it’s available there. And I love hearing about patrons who take advantage of some great eBook features – making the text bigger or using the dyslexic font to increase readability.

However, I don’t love having to share this news about eBooks and our ability to make them easy and available for you. Macmillan, one of the “Big 5” publishers, will be changing how they make eBooks available for libraries to purchase. This may mean you see much longer holds lists in Overdrive or Libby for some of your favorite authors.

Before I get to the details, let me give you a quick overview of how eBbooks and digital audiobooks are made available for you. In Hoopla Digital, you browse through a set catalog of digital books, movies, music, comics, and audiobooks. Then, when you check something out, the Library is charged for that checkout. That’s why you never have to place any holds in Hoopla Digital, but that is why the Library has had to set fewer checkouts for each patron, so we can manage the cost a little easier.

In Overdrive and Libby, the eBooks and audiobooks are much like our physical book collections. We purchase one or more copies of a book, and then when all those copies are checked out, you place a hold. When the number of holds on a particular book becomes too big, we purchase extra copies to help keep that wait shorter so you can start reading sooner.

Macmillan is taking away our ability to purchase any additional copies of an eBook for the first 8 weeks of its publication.

That means that for new books published by Macmillan, there will be only one eBook available for all of Anderson County. For authors like Nora Roberts, Louise Penny, C. J. Box, and Kristin Hannah, we will only have one eBook available of their newest book for 8 weeks. Then, after those 8 weeks are over, we will be able to purchase additional copies.

Fortunately, this doesn’t affect any physical books or audiobooks, and so far is only limited to Macmillan’s eBooks. But we still don’t like this limitation. It keeps us from being able to provide you with free, easy access to the books you love.

So what can you do?

  1. Please keep using our Digital Library. We can’t demonstrate the value and need for access without your support in this way.
  2. Let Macmillan know what you think.  You can send them an email at
  3. If you do check out the book from one of our libraries or otherwise get a copy of the book, please consider cancelling your hold in Overdrive or Libby. That way we can get the eBook faster to others who are waiting.
  4. Read more about eBooks and libraries. Libraries are fighting for fair and equal access to books for everyone, especially through the #eBooksForAll campaign.

After Tor Experiment, Macmillan Expands Embargo on Library E-books – Publishers Weekly

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