To the Editor:
This is a holiday time of great joy and the Monmouth County Library can look back on a year of providing the best in education, recreation, culture, the arts and so much more for the residents of Monmouth County. But it is also a time for library users to show their support for the American Library Association petition calling for a end to the eight-week embargo that one publishing firm has imposed on the purchase of e-Books by libraries.
Macmillan Publishers, a leader in the field, has altered its policy on the purchase of new titles of e-Books by all libraries across the nation. Under its new terms, libraries will continue to be able to purchase ONE copy of the newest and most popular publications as soon as the titles are published. However, Macmillan will now withhold sale of duplicate copies of new e-Book titles for libraries for an additional eight weeks after publication. This will result in longer waits for our readers since the library will no longer be able to purchase the additional e-Book copies necessary to provide for the long list of library users waiting for the latest selections.
As it is, even with the multiple copies the Monmouth County Library always purchases, members still experience some waiting lists for the newest and most popular publications.
Macmillan defends it action saying that individual purchasers who can obtain e-Books from libraries rather than purchase them themselves have CUT INTO THEIR PROFIT MARGIN immeasurably.
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The ALA contends that is not so because statistics show library users do indeed also purchase e-Books and company sales have not DECREASED.
In today’s highly technological world, hard cover books often remain on the shelf while readers wait for an e-Book to become available. Macmillan’s actions, especially if they should be followed by other publishers, will make these waits even longer to the dismay of our avid readers. It prohibits the Monmouth County Library from providing the ultimate degree of service and accommodation that has become the standard of excellence expected by our users.
This is an opportunity for the reader himself to participate in bringing about change and let Macmillan know its new policy is not acceptable. Readers who rely on the Monmouth County Library can make their voices heard by adding their names to lists that will be provided by the Library Headquarters, Eastern Branch and all 12 branches of the Monmouth County Library. Their signatures will show their support of the library’s policy to obtain educational and recreational materials without regard to the fluctuation of the provider’s marketplace practices. The signatures will also show support for the ALA and the hundreds of thousands of readers across the nation who have signed a petition opposing the embargo on library e-Books.
Signatures by library users will keep the Monmouth County Library in a leadership position with the ALA in strongly supporting this initiative that opposes restrictions on the wants and needs of the American reading public. Monmouth County Library users will be joining hundreds and thousands of readers across the nation making their voices heard on this ALA initiative.
Monmouth County residents have a reputation for rising to the need of furthering education and enjoyment provided by County resources. Residents appreciate the library’s endeavor to keep up with the newest technologies in providing reading material and having a free public library in service to the public.
With an estimated two million residents who have used our libraries during the past year, these voices that will make a difference and enable the Monmouth County Library to continue to be the very best system in the state, a system that not only continues to enhance the service it provides for its patrons, but also serves as a true community center for all Monmouth County residents.
On behalf of the Monmouth County Commission, I wish you all a wonderful holiday with your families and a joyous New Year. We will continue to provide the best service possible to the Monmouth County public.
Renee B . Swartz
Chair, Monmouth County Library Commission