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Local library system joins nationwide protest against publisher


The Monroe County Library System is joining a boycott against a major book publisher. The issue has to do with e-books.

Library system director Patty Uttaro says that Macmillan Publishers this month started a new policy that means that public libraries are only allow to purchase one copy of a new e-book for the first eight weeks after it is released.

Usually, to provide access to library users who want to borrow new books from some of the more popular authors, the library system in Monroe County and in other places around the country would buy multiple copies in order to reduce wait times.

But with the new move by Macmillan, Uttaro says in some instances, people borrowing e-books from the library may have to wait a year or more.

“By doing this Macmillan is creating a double standard there, where they’re encouraging people to buy, but not everybody can buy , and that is pretty much antithetical to everything the public library stands for," Uttaro said.

When the CEO for Macmillan Publishers originally announced the new guidelines in July, he said they were a response to growing fears that library lending was cannibalizing sales of e-books. But Uttaro doesn’t think restricting e-book lending will necessarily result in more book sales for Macmillan.

The Monroe County Library System joins several large library systems across the U.S. who plan to suspend purchases beginning Friday of all electronic versions of Macmillan Publishers' new releases, in a protest against the new policy.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.