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
    vivaelamor (profile), 1 Mar 2011 @ 4:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Protect authors?

    "If people don't want to buy they book, they don't have to do that."

    You ignore the issue of reading the book, which is not exclusive to buying the book, except if artificially restricted (e.g. by law).

    "the message you and your lazy, cheap friends keep insisting on delivering is that if you feel like stealing something, the authors should just roll over and let you take it"

    I'm not sure what you're referring to. Are you implying that lending is stealing? Or are you making vague accusations about something off topic? If you're going to redirect the conversation then it helps to be specific.

    "Because your choice is what matters, not the authors."

    If I'm the one with the money and they want me to give it to them for something which is inherently free then yes, it is my choice that matters. I can choose to read a book at a library rather than buy it, without breaking the law. I can borrow a friend's book, without breaking the law. Other ways to freely access the book may be unlawful, but that's an inconsistency in the law, not my ability to choose.

    "You shut down monetary reward and the only people left who can blog are the rich and the vain"

    Assuming your point, why would the rich blog if they weren't also vain? It's hard to believe that you've thought things through when you slip in such an obvious tautology.

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