Days before Macmillan’s controversial embargo on new release e-books in public libraries is set to go into effect, Macmillan CEO John Sargent is speaking out to librarians. In an open letter to librarians published this week, he struck a somewhat conciliatory note, but his message remains unchanged: library e-books pose a problem.

“We believe the very rapid increase in the reading of borrowed e-books decreases the perceived economic value of a book … I know that you pay us for these e-books, but to the reader, they are free.” That is what is driving the embargo, Sargent suggests—the fear that readers are being trained to get e-books “instantly and seamlessly” from a library, “causing book-buying customers to change habits,” and creating “a problem across the publishing ecosystem (authors, illustrators, agents, publishers, libraries, retailers, and readers).”

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