Some book publishers are rethinking the way they distribute their e-books to public libraries. Thanks to the convention of digital-book borrowing apps, many readers are able to read new titles on their tablets without having to wait for a physical book to be returned. This is especially relevant when big releases such as Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty are in popular demand. Readers flocked to these books the second that they hit the shelves, so digital book-borrowing apps became extremely convenient for those that wanted to rent the book without having to wait.
However, Macmillan, who published both Wolff and Comey’s books, are not as thrilled. With such widespread access to their most popular books, the company believes that they’re losing potential sales.
“Library reads are currently 45% of our total digital book reads in the U.S. and growing,” Macmillan Chief Executive John Sargent told The Wall Street Journal. “They are cannibalizing our digital sales.”
It is for this reason that Macmillan plans to limit each library system’s access to one digital copy of each new book it publishes in the first eight weeks of the book’s release. The action is set to take place on November 1st, and the hope is that more people will be inclined to purchase new books, instead of easily renting them.
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Steve Potash, chief executive of Rakuten OverDrive, a digital distributor of e-books, replied to Macmillan’s move: “It will create a backlash against Macmillan books and their authors. Libraries encourage and showcase authors to readers. Now libraries will have a hard time doing that for Macmillan.”
Whether the decision to rubberneck e-book copies is fruitful or not is yet to be seen. However, for those of you digital-book borrowers out there, be prepared to wait for Macmillan’s new releases—or at least be prepared to fork over the money to buy a copy for yourself.
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