Book publishers treating library patrons poorly

Casey Phillips, Independence

To the editor:

Most people do not know libraries purchase a subscription or pay a fee through a vendor service like OverDrive to download eBook copies for a limited time. It depends on the publisher, but some are also limited to how many times they can be checked out or restrictions against simultaneous use of an eBook. Sometimes the costs are three to five times the price for digital copies. This month Macmillan Publishers limited libraries – no matter the size of their city or town – to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release, making people wait an additional two months to a year to borrow an eBook from a library.

This is important because this embargo limits libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all (a major value of libraries and to democracy). It particularly harms library patrons with disabilities or learning issues. Great things about eBooks for people who have dyslexia or other visual challenges are that they can become large-print books, and they can offer fonts and line spacing that make reading easier. They are light and easy to hold, which aid some people who have physical disabilities. They are also handy for those who cannot leave their homes or have limited transportation.

Limiting access to readers will not necessarily increase consumer sales. Some will just go to another title on their long reading list. Some cannot afford to purchase hardcovers or eBooks, so they won’t buy them in any scenario. While some library users may choose to buy an eBook to avoid an even longer holds queue, which could generate a few sales, Macmillan’s embargo guarantees they will lose library sales for eight weeks.

Visit to find out more about this and to oppose Macmillan by signing a petition.



Is Independence going to be ‘closed for business?’

Stan Adkins, Independence

To the editor:

The city needs the Project W development. The City Council has already unanimously approved the bonds for it. The Little Blue Valley has been slated for development since the 1970s, including commercial and industrial development.

This began in earnest as far back as 1983 when the Public Works Department put the first shovel in the ground to address watershed issues that existed there. For any resident to take on some utopian view of what they thought the Little Blue Valley might look like and complain now is without merit or reason because the commercial and industrial development elements of the Little Blue Valley have been on the lips of every city leader for over 30 years.

The proximity of this proposed development to a few residences vs. locating a similar development a mile or two north on Little Blue Parkway would not change the fact there would be additional truck traffic or pedestrian traffic one bit, so that is a false narrative and concern. The city’s own practical experience over the years has proven beyond any doubt that “no“ major developer wants to invest in something three or four miles from the interstate. The commercial and industrial development elements of the Little Blue Valley have been a part of every plan the city has ever developed.

If the City Council does not stand up for the greater good of this community that this development would bring it will put the word out amongst regional and national developers that Independence is “closed for business,” and it will negatively impact the city’s ability to draw any kind of developer to invest and develop in the Little Blue Valley for years to come.