CyberTech Rambler

March 2, 2011

Library vs Publisher war starting?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 5:54 pm

Got to give it to theRegister for the title “Library e-book too tatty to lend”

Bottom line: Your Library’s will not be able to digitally loan HarperCollins ebook for more than 26 times to reflect the fact that HarperCollins wants to emulate paper book replacement cycle. It claims that library normally has to replace a paper book after 26 loan because the book will become tatty after that, so why shouldn’t it emulate that on ebooks.

I don’t find the argument in HarperCollins OpenLetter persuasive. And no, I will not discuss that on HarperCollin’s preferred forum coz I don’t want my opinion to be subjected to potential censorship. While I subscribe to the argument that there is a need to support the publishing ecosystem, but I do not believe it has to be the current model that HarperCollin is trying to protect with this move.

Ebooks are different from paper books. One principle advantage is it cannot wear out, nor is it possible for libraries to ‘lose’ a book. To ask it to emulate paper book degradation from use is stupid. 26 loans is an arbitrary limits, driven more by the fact HarperCollins want to restrict popular titles circulation to one year than real usage. It probably did not take into account libraries are good at restoring books, using sellotapes or rebinding books.

Besides, what are we going to emulate next? Random delete of ebooks held by library to emulate book lost due to theft or users not returning books?

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