Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Publisher Seeks Limits on Library Ebook Lending

As reported earlier this year, digital book distributor Overdrive released an app allowing readers to download ebooks from libraries on loan to their phones. Got that? :)

This didn't sit well with at least one publisher. Apparently. HarperCollins, specifically. According to Library Journal, this publisher has specified that it will only allow ebooks licensed to libraries to be loaned a maximum of 26 times, at which time said license will go kaput.

The following is a quote from the article:

The publisher also issued a short statement: "HarperCollins is committed to the library channel. We believe this change balances the value libraries get from our titles with the need to protect our authors and ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come."

Hmm ... really? Are you sure this isn't about protecting your bottom line, HarperCollins? Particularly at a time when the publishing business is struggling to stay afloat. And even more particularly in view of the fact that the midlist authors upon which you've relied to offset your more-than-healthy costs (e.g., huge advances to A-list authors, major marketing and promo to A-list authors, etc.) are abandoning you in favor of self-publishing ... oh, I'm sorry, have I touched upon a sore subject? Next!

Another quote from the article: 

Josh Marwell, President, Sales for HarperCollins, told LJ that the 26 circulation limit was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.

Er, maybe you haven't noticed this, but ebooks don't suffer wear and tear. If you ask me, this sounds like a total crock of sh*t.

BTW, check out the comments in the Library Journal article. I'm not the only one who thinks so.

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