KCLS libraries are boycotting Macmillan eBooks. KCLS is no longer buying Macmillan eBooks as of Nov. 1. Photo courtesy of KCLS Facebook

KCLS libraries are boycotting Macmillan eBooks. KCLS is no longer buying Macmillan eBooks as of Nov. 1. Photo courtesy of KCLS Facebook

King County Library System boycotts Macmillan eBooks

The KCLS boycott began Nov. 1.

The King County Library System (KCLS) is no longer purchasing newly released eBooks from Macmillan Publishers. The boycott began Nov. 1.

Macmillan, one of five major publishers in the United States recently announced a new lending model that restricts public libraries to only one copy of newly released eBooks for the first eight weeks of publication.

For KCLS, the announcement was especially troubling. KCLS has 50 libraries in its system and serves more than one million residents. With the new lending model, this means only one digital copy can be shared among the 50 libraries.

The decision came after months of discussion and advocacy to urge Macmillan to reconsider instituting a new library eBook embargo.

KCLS executive director Lisa Rosenblum previously stated that if KCLS had been limited to only one digital copy of high-demand titles like “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, and then had to wait eight weeks before being able to purchase, the impact would be “dramatic.” She said patrons could wait years rather than months for their eBook.

In a press release, Rosenblum said digital equity and access to information is at stake. Rosenblum said KCLS’s central mission is to provide free and equal access to information.

According to Rakutekn OverDrive, KCLS patrons downloaded nearly five million eBooks and audiobooks last year. KCLS has been the top digital-circulation library in the United States for the last five years and third worldwide, so the new embargo hits King County patrons hard.

Many KCLS patrons had reacted positively to KCLS’s decision to boycott Macmillan.

Comments on Facebook included people writing, “Thank you for standing firm! Love my KCLS!” and “We got your back.”

One commenter added that she supported KCLS’s as she is disabled and visiting the library frequently is difficult or impossible. “eBooks have been life changing. They provide accessibility to the disabled, the shut in, and children too young to go alone,” read the comment.

Since the boycott, KCLS spokesperson Sarah Thomas said several other library systems have joined in the boycott as well.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/Pixabay.com
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

King County homeless count: 11,751 people, up 5 percent from 2019

One night a year, volunteers spread out across Seattle and King County… Continue reading

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Starting July 6, three road paving projects to prepare for

Two full road closures and night paving work is coming to Redmond Ridge at Novelty Hill Road, near Duvall, July 6 through August

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Most Read