Patrons Speak Out: The Impact of Losing Access to More Than 500,000 Books

Earlier this week, we asked readers across social media to tell us the impact of losing access to more than 500,000 books removed from our library as a result of the publishers’ lawsuit.

The response was overwhelming, and the stories shared were powerful and heartfelt. It wasn’t just titles that disappeared—it was countless memories, research materials, and sources of inspiration for readers around the world. Below, we share some of the most impactful testimonials, highlighting the profound effect these removals have had on readers and researchers everywhere.

If you’d haven’t already done so, please share your story!

Tran D. A., Ha Tinh, Vietnam: It hampers my ability to look up data sources. Books in Vietnam are significantly less accessible and my economic background doesn’t allow me to afford these things.

R.F., Surrey, Canada: As a Wikipedia editor, the Internet Archive is one of the most useful tools to find citations and verify facts. By removing books from the Internet Archive, it hinders the ability to find sources for an open encyclopedia.

Meilan S., Washington, DC, USA: As the online history editor at a national magazine, I use the Internet Archive on an almost daily basis. It’s an invaluable tool for accessing books cited by my writers, conducting research for articles I’m writing, and fact-checking quotes and other information. I regularly link to the Internet Archive in our published content, as I believe we should be as transparent as possible regarding sourcing, in addition to offering readers links to sites where they can learn more about a given topic. It has been disheartening to find the majority of books I need to access for work now listed as “removed.” The removal of this content makes it more difficult for me to include diverse, in-depth and reliable sources in my writing and editing.

Tamia T., Montreal, Canada: Internet Archive gives me access to scholarly information that is not afforded to those outside of the post-secondary education system. The Internet Archive helps bridge the gap when it comes to literacy, comprehension of history, and the discovery of new works that are otherwise gate-kept from the average person.

Olga A., Moscow, Russia: I can’t proceed with my research on bioanthropology, regarding both the current state of this science and the history of this field. None of the books I’m looking for are available for purchase in my country, even if I, by some miracle, managed to find them in second-hand bookshops abroad and had great amounts of money to buy them.

Jason V. M., Tucson, AZ, USA: The Internet Archive has allowed me and my family to access books quickly, conveniently and safely. I’m afraid that without the Archive, access to teaching material for my daughter and studying material for myself has now become significantly limited at my income level and in my area.

Poppy, Indonesia: Most of literature I’ve been using from IA are ones I couldn’t find in my city’s library, either public or academic. Without IA, my academic progress would be halted.

Lyria V.W., Middle River, MD, USA: My school in the past wanted me to read books that were considered banned (like The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird) to learn about the culture and history at the time. I did not always have physical access to these books.

Zachary C., PA, USA: Without’s availability, I would have not been able to further my education on historical architecture and fashion.

Samson W., Omaha, NE, USA: It has made it more difficult to find quotes, to read quotes in full context, and to research language.

Nathan W., Portland, OR, USA: I purchase dozens of books every year, and check out even more from my local library — Internet Archive is an invaluable resource to explore books I’m interested in and quickly search for remembered passages or quotes from books I have already read.

Jefferson C., Managua, Nicaragua: Internet Archive had everything I needed to go through college, whilst not having ANY library available in my home country and with college books costing hundreds of dollars on top of import fee and taxes (which alone could be the salary of a person here).

Marina K., Minneapolis, MN, USA: I am an award-winning artist and writer for video games. I often need to research many diverse topics as an independent artist without institutional backing or studio resources. The Internet Archive is a valuable resource that allows me to create work that interacts more deeply with the world.

Harry S., UK: I’m a student studying Ancient History and having 500,000 books removed will undoubtedly remove my access to some sources I can’t get my hands on otherwise.

Carlos R., Aguascalientes, Mexico: I was reading Story : substance, structure, style and the principles of screenwriting (1997) and I no longer have access to it.

Alicia P., MD, USA: I organize Wikipedia editing events to improve Wikipedia articles about historical topics. We rely heavily on Internet Archive books as sources, since they are publicly available. This is essential for transparency in Wikipedia articles: every factual claim has a footnote, and the reader can click the hyperlink in the footnote to go directly to the source of the information in an Internet Archive book (often an older academic book that is no longer in print or at public libraries anyway).

Renard, Osasco, Brazil: The Internet Archive allowed me to expand my boundaries and access materials that do NOT exist here, or would be incredibly expensive to import, much of the price going to shipping and a reseller’s pockets.

Ethan S., Ottawa, Canada: I have been working on a project to document the history of social democratic governments in Canadian provinces and territories. These governments (by the NDP and CCF) are not well researched and the resources that are available at public libraries don’t always include older books, often written by members of cabinet or caucus. The Internet Archive has had some of the relevant books removed due to the lawsuit.

Berry J., Boston, MA, USA: I understand that publishers and authors have to make a profit but most of the material I am trying to access is written by people who are dead and whose publishers have stopped printing the material.

Chloe, London, UK: Internet Archive allows me to search a large number of books by keyword/name and it triggered my buying a lot of hard copies of books I would have never even known existed. I am so distressed that this has been taken away from me, as I research the history of lesbianism and it is already an extremely difficult niche field to research.

Camila N., Mexico City, Mexico: Cultural heritage, including documentary heritage, is essential for forging identities, offering knowledge, telling human history and promoting the progress of societies accompanied by cultural development.

Mary S., Rochester, NY, USA: It’s an access issue. It’s substantially harder to find the books I’m interested in reading. Heck, even for more common books, the libraries in my area are not practical to get to except by car, and I have a lot of friends who don’t have easy access to a car.

Robin L., Sydney, Australia: Having decreased access to books such as books on collage artists during certain parts of history affects my research, since I have limited to no access to such books in Australian libraries or bookshops both physical or digitally.

Samuel R., Chicago, IL, USA: In many cases there are not physical lending copies of titles i am looking for within 200 miles of my location, and no legal methods available to purchase e-versions. The Internet Archive is far and away the best solution for reading and preserving niche books across a variety of genres.

Zulma P., Covina, CA, USA: The Internet Archive has lots of books my local library doesn’t own and books that are very hard to find.

Thomas R., Manningham, Australia: These books being available on is a vital resource for me and many like me. A large amount of the Archive was never released in my corner of the globe, meaning I have few if any options for reading on niche subjects.

Juan V., Medellin, Colombia: I am a dance artist and require a big selection of options for my artistic research. Some of the books that I was using on my research are no longer available.

Sage L., Grand Rapids, MI, USA: I am an illustrator and character designer with a passion for science fiction. I use the Internet Archive to research projects that I don’t have enough background knowledge on. I frequently find that books I need are missing.

Oguz Alp K., Antalya, Turkey: In one word I can say: “devastation”. It is very difficult for people like me who live and do research in third world countries to access the books and documents in your archive.

Zachary B., Lockport, NY, USA: As someone who is working to understand the evolution of society through literature, reduced access to many classic works makes gathering information much more difficult.

Andrea T., Canada: I did not go to a university with a giant archive in the library for medieval texts, so to research these topics, free resources like Internet Archive really came into play. Not everyone will have an opportunity to read these books available at libraries. Not everyone can even afford to attend university, where many of these now removed texts are available for free in libraries and archives. Why should other students, and other people interested in these topics, be deprived of this free resource? Going into my Master’s degree, I have now lost a resource I relied on heavily through my post secondary education up until this point, hindering what sort of research I will be able to accomplish as I enter higher education.

Isa B., Lelystad, Netherlands: I was working on several papers for my education and I had to change sources because the literature was inaccessible despite it being of great importance to my research.

Mrittika D. S., Kolkata, India: Resources I had previously found on the Internet Archive site were all of a sudden no longer available when I searched for them. Hence, I faced a huge problem in completing my papers, as I had already formed a plan on what sources I wanted to refer to, and my plan was completely disrupted.

Schuyler V., Troy, NY, USA: While I am lucky to be near many physical libraries, none are as convenient and complete as the Internet Archive. Nearly all the books I’ve purchased in the last decade were ones I saw on the Internet Archive first.

Samantha F., Providence, RI, USA: Honestly? Without these books, my job becomes that much harder. Publishers aren’t going to put out a new run of, say, a 40-year-old book on specific aspects of animation history, because it’s not profitable. So, to remove them limits the number of folks like me, who are trying to tell a cohesive and factual story, who can actually work to do so as these materials get rarer and more expensive.

Kerry L., Boston, MA, USA: I had used copies of books a few months back when doing research for my master’s thesis—when I came back to them in April and May, I was surprised to find many of my more crucial secondary sources were gone. These books specifically are not as prevalent in public libraries, being older and region-specific. I was fortunate that I had taken detailed notes and quotes, but I was unable to check my references for books that were physically located miles and miles away from me.

Nicolas T., Paris, France: This gray zone of books still under copyright but that have disappeared from bookstores and libraries can be so useful… and the DRM on digital copies was very clever and fair.

Lola, Poland: On a personal level, this has severely limited the potential for both me and my partner to read books, we don’t have the money or ability to purchase actual books or E books and while there is a library near by, they usually don’t have the books we are looking for, it has in turn likely limited us from reading so many books.

John P., Menlo Park, CA, USA: In 2016 a fire in my home office left my personal library (about 700 books) smoke damaged, but still readable. Rather than let all these books go to waste, I donated them to the Internet Archive, so books in my collection they hadn’t already scanned would be available to the rest of the world. I had hoped I would be able to refer to the collection there. Unfortunately, many of these books are no longer available due to the lawsuit restrictions.

Andrew M., Easton, CT, USA: Prior to the removal of books on the IA I was able to access works on niche topics like La Terra in Piazza (1984) to review and promote reading about all sorts of interesting things to a wider audience. Since the removal, I’ve already struggled to finance a project translating a book on the causes of the fall of Rome, which would not have happened if I’d had access to materials that had been on IA at an earlier date.

Stephano L., Peru: The links I used for citations in university works are now dead, so I will have to correct that in many papers I wrote.

Editorial note: Statements have been edited for clarity.

11 thoughts on “Patrons Speak Out: The Impact of Losing Access to More Than 500,000 Books

  1. Mrittika D.S.

    Thank you for including my concerns on your blog. It broke my heart to read here that textbooks on endangered indigenous languages have been removed, which is so damaging! I hope you recover the lost materials very soon. Wishing you all the very best.

  2. Padri

    I am from India, from a poor region, work in the Netherlands. One day I search archive on home area for fun and I find 70’s French book on anthropology studies, lot’s of pictures, pictures of village and then I shocked, I see picture of my grandma?! Not seen since I was 7, before fire. I check, it’s my village, it is her name, we lost all pictures in fire, so I work with friend, we make copy of picture on photo paper, send it to grandfather, all uncles, aunts, they have no internet, now some do, but not my village. Grandpa sends me a recording via email of friend who does government work in city, it’s a video, he is crying, fire happened 18 years ago, grandma died 41 years ago, imagine that book gone, before I could send it, would be very sad. Now picture hangs on grandpa’s wall.

  3. Mimi Premo

    I’ve been using Open Library for over a decade and there are so many out of print books that many libraries don’t have in their collections and The libraries that do aren’t part of the interlibrary loan systems that allow out of area books to be borrowed by patrons. To limit half a million books from access, most of which are not being sold by the publishers themselves, is both disingenuous and crippling to those who seek knowledge.

    If it wasn’t for Open Library, the research I needed to do for my undergraduate thesis would have been impossible because there were no other resources to seek the information that I needed outside of the precious repository of books that the Open Library offers to all.

  4. Evan B. CT USA

    It must surely be Against the Law to attempt to cut down the Tree of Knowledge with an oversized Hachette?

  5. Sheila Matheson

    I had been reading books I cannot afford (mostly old books very few people even know about, much less borrow and read!) and then along comes this lawsuit and ruins it all. Admittedly I find it hard to understnad why there couldn’t have been a better way to settle this which could have had less impact on book/manuscript availability, but what do I know? For example, since you welcome monetary donations, why couldn’t you have paid for a small licensing fee from those greedy publishers so you could have continued allowing users to read/borrow the books in question instead of just removing them entirely? And another thing I completely fail to understand. WHY do searches continue to find books you no longer allow users to read or borrow? Why not just remove all of them from searches so users don’t have to see that loathsome ‘BORROW UNAVAILABLE’? I mean, why show users items they cannot access? It’s the same as it would be to walk into a library and all you find are empty book COVERS!!!!!!! Why not just remove reference to them entirely? That way when a user does find something in a search, they would KNOW they can read or borrow it!!!!!

  6. John Fox

    To close down this site would be akin to the burning of the library at Alexandria. To lose access to so many times of interest across such an eclectic line.
    I, for example, am an amputee British Army Veteran who lives in the country in Maine which is devoid of any intellectual movement at all. I enjoy the diversity of being able to browse and read so many interesting things. There are many things I never knew existed. Thank you to all who created this site and please keep it up.

  7. Norman Kelley

    This is very, very distressing. One of best tips I have ever received from a librarian is to look for a title on the Internet Archive. Nine times out ten such a sought after book is there. Even libraries in DC don’t even care classics by Max Weber or modern ones by Christopher Lasch. If a title is not in circulation, it goes off the shelf. How are people the going find titles no longer cared by libraries?

  8. KC

    Is there any way to find out what publishing houses are NOT involved in this? Companies we can steer our dollars towards, those of us privileged enough to speak as consumers?

  9. Ritayan Lahiri

    I am using internet archive to get information that I needed to complete my thirst for knowledge and as a history lover internet archive has always been my primary source of information. If they (publishers) blocked the access from us then how could a boy like me will get the knowledge, it is also worth saying that the right to get information is not only exist in papers it is very much real and the internet archive made it possible for citizens of world from any corners like me.

  10. ARYA KUMAR Roy

    If monetary aspects are the sole consideration of both the publishers and the authors then the readers are helpless.
    No author would like to forgo his or her royalty.
    Berne convention needs revision regarding copyright acts.
    Those who can afford to buy books rarely buy books.
    Genuine readers go for good libraries which are mostly inaccessible to the majority.

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