Kentucky Libraries Unbound (KLU), a consortium of 105 county and city library systems including Boone County Public Library, has joined with the American Library Association and library systems across the country in boycotting Macmillan Publishers’ digital materials. The boycott is in protest of Macmillan’s change in their eBook licensing model to include limits on library eBook purchases.
On November 1st, 2019 Macmillan instituted a change to their eBook licensing. Under the new model, a library (or library consortium like KLU) may purchase one copy upon release of a new title in eBook format for $30, after which the publisher will impose an eight-week embargo on additional copies of that title.  What this means is that there would only be one copy of the title – which can only be checked out to one patron at a time – to be shared by the over 60,000 active KLU users across the state for the first 8 weeks.  Then once the 8 weeks are up, additional copies become available, each with a two-year lease (still checked out to one patron at a time) for double the price of the first copy.
Kentucky Libraries Unbound is a partnership between 105 county and city library systems, designed to offer a wide variety of digital resources to our communities in order to enrich lives and inspire lifelong learning. Libraries across Kentucky joined together to provide our patrons a larger and broader collection of digital resources than each library could achieve individually. KLU strives to provide equal access to all of our patrons across the state of Kentucky, regardless of the economic barriers they might face.

With the fundamental tenants of our consortium in mind, KLU cannot continue to spend taxpayer money on Macmillan titles under these unfair and unsustainable licensing terms. We will not purchase new Macmillan titles or additional copies of Macmillan titles already in the collection. For our patrons this will mean longer wait times for already owned titles and that some of their favorite authors’ newest titles may not be added to KLU at all.  Instead we will be using our funds to purchase titles from publishers that have maintained equitable and fair licenses models for libraries, allowing us to provide the best service to our patrons.
Here’s what you can do to make your voice heard on this issue:

  • Sign the American Libraries Organizations’ petition at
  • Email Macmillan and ask it to change its policy:
  • Contact your favorite Macmillan authors, like Nora Roberts, Kristin Hannah and Liane Moriarty through their websites, about the injustice of Macmillan’s library ebook embargo

For more information about library ebook issues check out ALA’s Report to Congress: COMPETITION IN DIGITAL MARKETS
–Katie Justice, Digital Services Librarian and Kentucky Libraries Unbound Coordinator