In the fight for access to eBooks, library supporters will need to pressure the publishers.

When I worked as a staff librarian for OverDrive, news came down from Macmillan that their Tor imprint would be implementing an embargo on library eBooks. Public libraries would not be allowed to purchase eBook copies of new Tor titles to loan to their communities for four goddamn months. I was outraged, but even more worried, as it bode not well of things to come.

As local library legend Sari Feldman says here, my concerns, which were shared by OverDrive and librarians across the country were valid, and publishers are under the false impression that libraries negatively impact sales. As Ms. Feldman says, to say this is bad for libraries is an understatement. Fortunately, OverDrive has partnered with librarians on a project to try and prove this notion false to the publishers, but until then, the publishers hold all the cards.

But you, dear reader, if anyone actually reads this blog, you are your library’s greatest power, so I echo Ms. Feldman’s call to arms. You can put pressure on the publishers to cooperate with libraries. Take to Twitter, take to Facebook, email the publishers, and let them know that borrowing eBooks from the public library matters to you, and you deserve unfettered access to them. Let them know that it is with your word of mouth and reviews of books that you read from the library that improves sales. You are the libraries’ best leverage.

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