What about an e-book?
HarperCollins, the publisher of Michael Crichton, Sarah Palin and Dennis Lehane, said on Friday that it had revised its restrictions for libraries that offer its e-books to patrons.
Until now, libraries that have paid for the privilege of making a publisher’s e-books available for borrowing have typically been granted the right to lend an e-book — say, the latest John Grisham thriller — an unlimited number of times. Like print books, e-books in libraries are lent to one person at a time, often for two weeks. Then the book automatically expires from the borrower’s account.
HarperCollins said on Friday that it had changed its mind. Beginning March 7, its books may be checked out only 26 times before the license expires.
“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,” it said in a statement. The policy does not affect books already licensed by libraries.
Steve Potash, the chief executive of OverDrive, a provider of e-books to public libraries, said HarperCollins was the first publisher to limit how many times an e-book may be checked out.
The announcement was a reminder of the publishers’ squeamishness over having their e-books available in libraries. More people are using libraries for e-reading, a practice that does not require visiting a library in person, and is possible on many electronic devices, including the Nook and the iPad.
While hundreds of publishers make their e-books available to libraries, at least two major publishers, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, do not.
Librarians fumed about the limit, complaining that it would require them to pay more for HarperCollins’s books when budgets are being cut.
“All libraries are going to think twice about what e-books they’re going to purchase in the future,” Leah L. White, a librarian at the Morton Grove Public Library in suburban Chicago, said Friday. Mr. Potash said the change would force some libraries, especially those that stock a lot of best sellers, to be more careful about the publishers from which they buy. “Libraries will have to consider whether they want to invest in titles that, after a year or 18 months or so, they’ll have to replenish or buy additional units,” he said. “There will be some who may have to be more selective about how they can use their digital book budgets.”
On Sunday, he said that OverDrive would take HarperCollins titles out of its general e-book catalog, which would keep them available but make them less easily accessible.
from: NY Times