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.