Digital Exclusive: Luzerne County Libraries Boycott Two Publishing Companies

Digital Exclusive

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — All 10 libraries in the Luzerne County Library System have joined a nationwide boycott of Blackstone Publishing and MacMillan Publishing. Why? Library staff say the publishers are limiting the access to newly released eBooks for libraries and patrons.

“They’ve done things like work with online retailers to limit what a library can buy from them for the first 90 days or several months,” Richard Miller, System Administrator of the Luzerne County Library System, said.

Miller says they have also made eBooks disappear after a certain amount of time, forcing libraries to pay to renew its license. An eBook, which would normally cost an individual $15 to purchase, can cost libraries $50 or more for the eBook’s license so that library members can read it.

“They’re really forcing libraries to spend an extraordinary amount of money to purchase a product and limiting what we can offer the public,” Miller said.

New titles in eBook format by James Patterson, Stephen King, David Baldacci, and more will not be available in the Luzerne County Library System. Ebooks are useful for people who may have trouble reading regular sized print in books. They allow people to make the print larger when reading.

Ebooks are also easily accessible, especially for those who cannot get to a library to borrow a physical book. Miller says that by limiting access to eBooks, the publishers are actually impacting their own sales.

“In actuality, it’s been proven that library users actually try more things because they can borrow them from libraries. So it expands their pool of users and potential readership,” Miller said.

While old titles are not affected, Miller says that the decisions by the publishers are already affecting readership.

“We’re hoping that they will be interested in speaking to libraries, and hearing from us, hopefully hearing from the public and understand that we’re actually partners with them. That we’re a growing readership, not cutting into their businesses,” Miller said.

The Luzerne County Library System boycott will last until May 2020.

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