HarperCollins is now forcing libraries to pay for new eBooks after 26 checkouts of the same digital copy, according to the Consumerist.While it’s standard to make each licence available to just one customer at a time, this checkout cap is a new restriction that could pave the way for other publishers to do the same.
The Pioneer Library System of Oklahoma posted an open letter on their website stating that after the 26 checkout limit is reached, “the eBook is essentially locked until a re-entrance fee is paid by the library for the next 26 checkouts.”
The supposed argument made by HarperCollins, relayed by Pioneer, is that it’s applying the same guidelines towards eBooks as it has been to paper books.
From Pioneer: “The rationale offered by the publisher is since paper books wear out and need to be replaced if they are to remain in a library’s collection, the same should be true of their electronic formats. The publisher argues that it should not be denied revenues that come from reselling replacement books and resources. Because the publisher assumes digital resources never deteriorate, they have set an arbitrary limit to the number of times an electronic resource can be accessed.”
If the publishing industry is indeed going digital with the advent of eReaders like the Kindle and Nook, it seems fair then for publishers to charge libraries to renew an eBook licence. But should 26 be the magic number?
Remember – public libraries are generally funded by taxpayers’ dollars. Here’s a video from Pioneer on what paper books look like after 26 checkouts:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.