HarperCollins takes first step to kill off ebook libraries

The big 6 publisher HarperCollins (owned by Rupert Murdoch, curiously enough) has recently announced a new policy for ebooks lent from libraries. Libraries will now only be allowed to lend an ebook 26 times before they are forced to buy another copy. Apparently HarperCollins believes that's when the electrons that make up an ebook are worn out and need to be replaced.

This story broke today because of a letter sent  out by Steve Potash, the head of Overdrive. That letter was only sent out to member libraries, but it fairly quickly started being passed around. Here's the important part:

We have been required to accept and accommodate new terms for eBook lending as established by certain publishers. Next week, OverDrive will communicate a licensing change from a publisher that, while still operating under the one-copy/one-user model, will include a checkout limit for each eBook licensed. Under this publisher's requirement, for every new eBook licensed, the library (and the OverDrive platform) will make the eBook available to one customer at a time until the total number of permitted checkouts is reached.

I have to admire some publishers; they work ceaselessly to make themselves only slightly less repugnant than pirates.

via Library Journal

About Nate Hoffelder (11162 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

4 Comments on HarperCollins takes first step to kill off ebook libraries

  1. “I have to admire some publishers; they work ceaselessly to make themselves only slightly less repugnant than pirates.”

    You mean, they work ceaselessly to make themselves much more repugnant than pirates…

    Did they research how often a pbook is lent out before it must be replaced? And is that 26 times? If so, I can, sort of, understand where they’re coming from.

    • What a wonderful thing . The future generations will be spared the tedious burden to read classical literature of the past millenia ( or months). F Book is more interesting . Don’t you think so?

  2. FWIW, the BPHs and Overdrive are also screwing libraries on the cost. For example, the John Grisham book “The Confession” can be purchased by a library in hardcover for approximately $17.37 as compared to the ebook cost of $28.95.

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