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US libraries to boycott Blackstone audiobooks over new release embargo

In the US, a coalition of 44 public libraries in Washington state is organising a six-month boycott of Blackstone Publishing’s digital audiobooks to protest the company’s 90-day embargo on new release titles, reports Publishers Weekly.

The boycott is set to begin on 1 August and the Washington Digital Library Consortium (WDLC) is urging libraries across the US to join the protest, in a bid to have Blackstone reverse its decision.

Blackstone announced its 90-day window on new audiobook releases ‘quietly’ in June. In a subsequent message to libraries, a Blackstone rep said under the terms of a deal the publisher had made with an ‘unnamed important strategic partner’, its titles would be available exclusively in digital format on its partner’s platform for 90 days upon initial release.

A review of Audible’s catalogue shows current and forthcoming Blackstone Publishing titles feature a banner reading ‘only from Audible’, beginning with titles published the week of 2 July.

The boycott’s organisers recognise the difficulty that not buying Blackstone titles might cause users in the short term, and say they plan to resume buying Blackstone digital audio titles in February 2020.

‘Our intent is not to negatively impact Blackstone’s earnings, but to demonstrate the importance libraries play in helping users discover new materials, which has a profound impact on publisher profits over time, and the impact libraries can have when organized around a common goal for the good of our patrons.’


Category: Library news International