Macmillan announced last week that it is adding its frontlist titles to its backlist pilot for public libraries, making its complete ebook catalog available for the first time. All of their titles are available for a 2-year/52-loan period (whichever comes first). Macmillan ebooks are available to individual public libraries only, not to consortia.
Pricing will vary based on when a title was published. Alison Lazarus, president of the Macmillan Sales Division, said in an email that titles published less than 12 months ago will cost public libraries $60 apiece, while titles published 12 months ago or more will continue to be $40.
With this announcement, all of the Big Five publishers now offer their full ebook catalogs to public libraries. Click here for a detailed chart. For most of the last three-and-a-half years, since HarperCollins instituted its 26-loan limit, many doubted this day would come. But here we are.
Let’s be clear, we got here through the leadership of ALA Presidents Molly Raphael and Maureen Sullivan, ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Digital Content Working Group Co-Chairs Robert Wolven and Sari Feldman, and the entire staff of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy led by Alan Inouye. It took teamwork, determination, and tenacity, and ALA came through.
This good news comes with bad news.The good news is the opportunity to license ebooks from the major publishers; the bad news continues to be price, loan limits, and consortium access. So while this is a big step, we still have a long way to go. Now that the largest publishers have determined that it is in their business interest to license (sell access to) ebooks to libraries, we must continue to talk with them about the terms under which their ebooks are offered.
ROB MAIER is a member of the Digital Content Working Group.