Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An article on the Harper Collins library ebooks issue

This article ran yesterday in the New York Times:

Publisher Limits Shelf Life for Library E-Books

(There's that stupid hyphenation of ebook again.  Arrghhhh.)

So the struggle between Overdrive, public libraries, and Harper Collins has now made the big news.  In case you haven't heard, Harper Collins has decided to enforce a checkout limit of 26 patrons on its library ebooks, because they claim that this makes ebooks behave more like physical books, which eventually wear out.  (According to librarians, this checkout limit is entirely unrealistic.)

The New York Times article makes a good point near the end: There are downsides to ebooks, too.  Print books can be sold in used book sales as interest in a book wanes or if it becomes obvious that the library has too many copies.  Reselling used books is a good source of revenue for the library.

Maybe if Harper Collins is so big on making ebooks behave more like print books, they can start allowing libraries to resell unread copies.  Fair is fair.

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