HarperCollins Wants To Limit Library Ebook Lending To 'Protect' Authors From Libraries

from the can-i-check-out-a-clue? dept

Colin was the first of a bunch of you to send in the news that publisher HarperCollins has bizarrely decided to cripple the ebooks they let libraries lend by adding a clause in their contract that says books can only be lent out 26 times before the license "expires." Why? Because they can, apparently, and don't realize how this will simply piss off people. Also, once again, I do wonder how supporters of a move like this can still claim that a digital copy of content is "just like" a physical copy. HarperCollins could never make such a claim with a physical book.

Where it gets really ridiculous is HarperCollins' "defense" of the move:
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.
Yes, seriously. They think they need to protect authors from libraries. That's -- to put it frankly -- insane. It seriously makes me question whether authors should be comfortable with HarperCollins as a publisher, when it seems to be making moves that clearly go against an author's best interest. The article does note that two of the big publishers -- Macmillan and Simon & Schuster -- don't allow any lending of ebooks, which is unquestionably worse. However, this kind of move doesn't make HarperCollins look good or like it has any recognition of the digital world. It should be a major turn off to authors who do recognize where the market is headed.

Filed Under: ebooks, libraries, protection
Companies: harpercollins


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  1. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), 28 Feb 2011 @ 3:44pm

    Re: Re: Insane? Not quite...

    I do get both of your points, but I think greed is different from malice. Greed is purely selfish desire, and while it may be implicit in selfishness that other people will have to suffer for your prosperity, the greed is not itself motivated by a desire to harm people but rather by a desire to prosper at any cost. Malice, to me, describes acts that are actually directly motivated by the desire to cause harm.

    There is some overlap, certainly, but I still think it's a valuable distinction. I am not one who buys into an "all corporations are evil" mentality - but I do believe that the incentives in a capitalist economy can lead to harmful behaviour, which is why the free market cannot be completely unregulated.

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