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Category Archives: ebook lending
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I’ve written several articles about HarperCollins and their policy concerning ebooks they sell to libraries. After one of their books has been loaned out 26 times, it self destructs and the library must buy another copy if they wish to continue making it available.
I believe a library acquires ownership rights when they purchase an ebook from a publisher. I believe the library, which becomes the legal owner of any ebook they purchase, should be the one to determine how that ebook is disposed of, not the publisher they purchased it from! And like a paper book, I believe a library should be able to sell their ebooks just like they sell their paper books when they become obsolete.
Here in Florida many of our libraries have been forced to reduce their staff and operating hours because of budget cuts. The decision by HarperCollins to make libraries pay more for their ebooks when they are suffering from such budget cuts is predatory and disgraceful!
There is an online petition circulating that has garnered over 63,000 signatures. I’ve already added my name to it. If you believe as I do, you can add your name to the petition by clicking here.
I’ve been playing with my Nook Color for the past few days. Last Monday, 4/25/2011, Barnes & Noble pushed out a major software update to their Nook Color eReaders. Now my eReader has apps! I can listen to Pandora and surf the web even easier than before! There’s something new called “Nook Friends” where people can share their love of reading and share their ebooks too! You can connect with others, share opinions on books you are reading, and rate books you’ve read!
This software update (version 1.2.0) also included Android 2.2 and Adobe Flash Video 10.1 which, among other things, allows you to view YouTube…. (20 minutes later)… Yes, YouTube works perfectly! And to top things off, B&N opened their Nook Color App Store with an initial offering of 125 apps to choose from. Outstanding!
Oh, did I mention you can read books (and magazines and newspapers) on the Nook Color as well! 😉
HarperCollins knew they were going to take some heat when they decided to make ebooks electronically vanish when they had been checked out 26 times, but apparently they misjudged how strong the reaction would be. Many libraries started a boycott against HarperCollins and the movement spread across the country and into Canada!
Personally, I think this is crazy! Assuming a library has a two week lending period for paper books, and no one ever returned one early or late, the 26th person would have to wait almost an entire year to finally get their hands on it! If the book became deteriorated during that time, the library would have the opportunity to sell it and use the money to help them buy a new copy!
On the other hand, a best selling HarperCollins ebook could be loaned out 26 times in one day and POOF… It just disappears! The library would buy the ebook, but have no chance to sell it. If you buy something, isn’t it a right of ownership that you also have the right to sell it? This also applies to individuals! If you buy an ebook, shouldn’t you also have the right to sell it? There all kinds of things going on here!
Anyway, Last Tuesday a HarperCollins representative told a large group of librarians that the number 26 was not set in stone. They said it was their number for now, but they wanted input from the libraries about how the number was working for them and HarperCollins was willing to listen. If you would like to read more about this, please click here and click here!
I think the boycott is working and HarperCollins is feeling the pain in their bottom line. The ebook industry is new and has growing pains. Many issues must be worked out to make ebook distribution fair for the author and the buyer. For the first time in history an author can write and publish their own book. Amazon, the largest bookstore in the world, is happy to publish almost anyone for a reasonable fee! I think brick and mortar publishers are coming to grips with this and trying different things to stay in business.
This is good stuff! Let’s watch it together!
The HarperCollins ebook boycott has expanded into Canada. Debbie LeBel, the manager of acquisitions for Halifax Public Libraries, says she is not buying new e-book licenses from HarperCollins even though demand for eBooks has grown steadily in recent years and HarperCollins titles account for about one in every five e-books in the collection of more than 6,000.
For now, LeBel said she is choosing not to buy any new HarperCollins licenses although she continues to buy from other publishers on an almost daily basis. She said librarians across Canada have told her they are doing the same. You can read more on this story by clicking here and here.
We all know that “planned obsolescence” has been designed into products for years but, in my opinion, marketing a product that just dies after being used a specific number of times is just wrong.
More and more libraries across the country are offering ebooks to their card holders. That’s good! You don’t even have to return the ebook to the library! After the lending period is up, it automatically reverts back to the library that loaned it to you. The funny thing is many libraries don’t own the ebook they’re lending… They’ve purchased a license agreement to loan the ebook. When you actually download the ebook, you find yourself connected to an ebook lending service. One of the largest ebook lenders is OverDrive and that’s the service many libraries use.
When OverDrive distributes an ebook they wrap it up with DRM (digital rights management) software. This software determines what you can and cannot do with the ebook. Recently HarperCollins, a major worldwide publisher, directed Overdrive to include lending limits in their DRM.
HarperCollins did a study and determined the average paper book can be lent out by a library twenty-six times before it must be replaced due to wear and tear. Using this criteria, HarperCollins had OverDrive modify their DRM software so any HarperCollins ebook loaned out after March 7th, 2011, will self destruct after being loaned out twenty-six times. If the library wants to continue loaning the ebook they must purchase another license.
Although I understand why HarperCollins is doing this, I don’t like it. I feel we’re opening a gate which will lead to additional restrictions as time goes on. The whole ebook industry is continually evolving. Authors can now self publish and distribute their products via the internet. Let’s see where it goes!
There’s a great ebook lending service available called eBookFling and you can become a member for free! In their own words, “Just fling an eBook to others and catch the eBook of your choice!” They support both the Kindle and … Continue reading
The eBook Lending Library I covered earlier is now on-line and accepting members! Join the club like I just did!