Non-TV Controversy, But Worth Paying Attention To: Libraries Go Ballistic Over HarperCollins e-book Policy

Mar 8, 2011  •  Post A Comment

"[A] a decision by publisher HarperCollins to limit the circulation of library e-books is rousing librarians, who have started a boycott via blogs and Twitter protesting what some consider the digital "destruction" of books," writes Bob Minzesheimer of USA Today.

The article continues, "Under a policy that began Monday, libraries can "lease" (for a fee) new HarperCollins e-books and loan them no more than 26 times. At that point, the book disappears — digitally — unless the library pays to lease another copy for the next 26 readers. (Libraries lend e-books one at a time, just like print, unless multiple copies are bought.)" HarperCollins is owned by News Corp.

Minzesheimer also writes, "Two other major publishers — Simon & Schuster (home to Stephen King) and Macmillan (Kristin Hannah) — do not sell e-books to libraries."

The story says HarperCollins responded to the dispute in a note on its blog Library Love Fest: ""Selling e-books to libraries in perpetuity, if left unchanged, would undermine the emerging e-book eco-system, hurt the growing e-book channel, place additional pressure on physical bookstores, and in the end lead to a decrease in book sales and royalties paid to authors." It also says, "If a library decides to repurchase an e-book later in the book’s life, the price will be significantly lower as it will be pegged to a paperback price."

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