March 3, 2011
Librarians Call on Institutional and Individual Consumer Licensees to Boycott HarperCollins Over Plan to Cap eBook Lending
In response to HarperCollins's plans to limit libraries to 26 loans of each ebook, librarians are mounting a campaign to boycott the company. The call to boycott extends beyond institutional licensees and their patrons to encompass individual consumer licensees of eBooks. Smart idea since many individual consumers may realize they license, not own, their eBooks.
Imagine what could happen as the result of boycotting in the law eBook market where comparable titles on any give topic will be available. Will our major vendors compete on the basis of the number of restrictions they place on their eBook licenses? Will the few remaining independent legal publishers and new players enter the law eBook marketplace with less restrictive licenses?
From the Boycott HarperCollins website:
Until this policy is revoked, join us by not buying any new books or ebooks published by HarperCollins or any of its imprints: Amistad, Avon, Avon A, Avon Inspire, Avon Red, Balzer + Bray, Caedmon, Collins, Ecco, Eos, Greenwillow Books, Harper, Harper Business, Harper Design, Harper Paperbacks, Harper Perennial, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, HarperAudio, HarperBibles, HarperCollins Children's Audio, HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperCollins e-Books, HarperFestival, HarperLuxe, HarperOne, HarperTeen, ItBooks, Katherine Tegen Books, Rayo, Walden Pond Press, and William Morrow.
In addition, support your local library if it chooses to participate in the boycott and write a letter to HarperCollins explaining your actions.
The boycott will end as soon as HarperCollins agrees not to limit the number of times a library can loan each ebook.
"Warning: Math and Statistics and Numbers Ahead." A highly recommended thoughtful analysis prompted by HarperCollins new licensing restrictions by Sarah Glassmeyer can read at HCOD, eBook User Bill of Rights and Math
For background, see LJ's HarperCollins Puts 26 Loan Cap on Ebook Circulations the Guardian's Fury over 'stupid' restrictions to library ebook loans and Sarah Glassmeyer's LLB post. [JH]
As an academic librarian, I am still waiting for a descent platform or arrangement that makes sense in a library. Recently, I became an e-reader and my experiences as a patron at NY Public Library - one of the largest in the world - has been dismal. I absolutely love my reader - especially for news and mags. Trying to get a book that I actually want to read from the public library just sends me fleeing to my commercial vendor. Digital rights management is out of control. Try borrowing an e-article from another school that has extra permissions on it. Ouch. Congress is responsible for creating laws that promote the arts and sciences but DRM does not do that. DRM frustrates budding Einsteins and Twains at the public library who are growing up with these readers, librarians who try to get people to read and research (RIF is just another blog post about the federal budget) and probably authors who want their books to be send around. The only people benefiting from DRM in this case are the large publishing houses. Congress has failed miserably. No surprise there.
Posted by: Vicki | Mar 7, 2011 5:46:56 AM
I'm finding this whole thing just fascinating. As you note, I've sort of been dipping my toes in it, but as an academic law librarian I'm not entirely sure I'm seeing all the relevant issues or making any sense - but if anyone wants to take the advice of a law librarian at a small school in BFE Indiana, I don't think a HarperCollins boycott will work. Libraries should get out of the eBook business until there are vendors that will SELL them the ownership/perpetuity rights, not just lease them like they currently do.
Posted by: Sarah G. | Mar 3, 2011 6:44:56 AM