Library Users, Librarians, and Libraries Boycott HarperCollins Over Change in Ebook Terms
New York, NY -- Library users, librarians, and libraries have begun to
boycott publisher HarperCollins over changes to the terms of service
that would limit the ability of library users to borrow ebooks from
libraries. A new website,, is helping to
organize their efforts to get HarperCollins to return to the previous
terms of service.

On February 24, Steve Potash, the Chief Executive Officer of
OverDrive, sent an email to the company's customers -- primarily US
libraries -- announcing that some of the ebooks they get from
OverDrive would be disabled after they had circulated 26 times. Soon
after, librarians learned that it was HarperCollins, a subsidiary of
News Corporation (NWSA), that intended to impose these limits.
Immediately, library users, librarians, and libraries began voicing
their opposition to the plan by HarperCollins, with several library
users and librarians urging a boycott.

As Joe Atzberg

er, of Columbus, Ohio, one of the first librarians to
address the issue, wrote on his Atzblog
"The previous model already forced libraries to pretend a digital
'copy' was a single physical thing. Only one library's user can have
it 'checked out' at a time. And only on one device. The clearly
misapplied language around this tells you what a terrible idea it is.
To be clear, this model eliminates almost all the major advantages of
the item's being digital, without restoring the permanence,
durability, vendor-independence, technology-neutrality, portability,
transferability, and ownership associated with the physical version."

Information on this grassroots campaign can be reached via a website
that went online on February 27, 2011, The
boycott will end as soon as HarperCollins agrees not to limit the
number of times a library can loan each ebook.


A Limit on Lending E-Books

From the article: While hundreds of publishers make their e-books available to libraries, at least two major publishers, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, do not.

Boycott HarperCollins? Really? Simon & Schuster and MacMillan are boycotting libraries.

I seriously doubt one public library that serves a population greater than 100,000 will join this boycott.

As far as the general public goes most people have no idea who the publisher is on a book. Even if a person knows one book published by HarperCollins are they going to know the 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)

There is a comment to this article by a library director. Currently it is the 7th comment. -- The comments begins this way: As a Public Library Director, I believe that 26 circulations on a title is fair.

Galleycat has a piece on the "boycott"

The piece ends with this: Editor’s Update: Reader Katherine Govier clarifies: “I wrote to these people; they wrote back. Seems they are mostly librarians, not patrons.”

Interesting change made to current editions of HarperCollins books copyright page:

"All rights reserved. [The usual stuff follows. But the next section is new.]

"This printed matter has been reproduced from a digital original. This copy is offered as a lease only. HarperCollins retains all rights and may recall this copy at the discretion of HarperCollins Publishers."

yes, I'm kidding. but don't be surprised when it happens for real.

Since our library has stopped buying printed books due to budget slashes, who really cares right now?

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