Why are so many books listed as “Borrow Unavailable” at the Internet Archive


Books that are shown as “Borrow Unavailable” mean they cannot be borrowed by our patrons, including books you may have previously read or consulted. 

In 2020, our library was sued by four of the world’s largest publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Wiley—for lending books via the library practice known as controlled digital lending. That lawsuit, Hachette v. Internet Archive, is currently on appeal after the lower court (the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York) heard the case and ruled in favor of the publishers. In this decision against our library, Judge Koeltl issued an injunction that limits what we can do with our digitized books—namely, we can no longer lend those books to our patrons. The injunction does not affect our accessibility program—the removed books are still available to patrons with print disabilities.

Additionally, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the trade organization behind the lawsuit, worked with some of its member publishers (listed below) that were not named in the lawsuit to demand that we remove their books from our library.

As a result, more than 500,000 books in our collection are not currently available for borrowing, including more than 1,300 banned and challenged books. We understand that this is a devastating loss for our patrons, and we are fighting back through the courts to restore access to these books. Fortunately, other countries and international library organizations are moving to support controlled digital lending. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we fight this long battle. For inquiries, please contact patron services at info@archive.org.

Plaintiff Publishers

  • Hachette Book Group
  • HarperCollins
  • Penguin Random House
  • Wiley

Other Publishers Coordinated by the Association of American Publishers (AAP)

  • American Chemical Society
  • American Reading Company
  • BiggerPockets Publishing
  • Bloomsbury
  • Bookpress Publishing
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Chronicle Books
  • De Gruyter
  • Elsevier
  • Fordham University Press
  • Getty Publications
  • Hansen Publishing Group
  • Harvard University Press
  • Holiday House-Peachtree-Pixel+Ink
  • Imbrifex Books
  • Lynne Rienner Publishers
  • Macmillan
  • MedMaster
  • Melville House Publishing
  • Moody Publishers
  • Pearson
  • Princeton University Press
  • Sage Publications
  • Scholastic
  • Simon & Schuster
  • Springer
  • Taylor & Francis
  • Teacher Created Materials
  • The American University in Cairo Press
  • University of California Press
  • University of Chicago Press
  • University of Massachusetts Press
  • University of Minnesota Press
  • University of Texas Press
  • University of Wisconsin Press
  • University Press of Colorado
  • Valancourt Books
  • W. W. Norton & Company
  • Wesleyan University Press
  • Wolters Kluwer
  • Yale University Press