Should physical & e-book sales be protected from the elusive danger of library e-book checkouts?

Radio story

When a library buys a book, it buys it once. This was the case for e-books as well. Now, HarperCollins is making its e-books expire for libraries after 26 checkouts. In other words, it’s treating an e-book like an e-subscription to a magazine, such that the library never actually owns the book outright. And libraries are outraged; some are even boycotting all HarperCollins books, which include those by Anne Rice, Sarah Palin, and Michael Crichton. Libraries claim that, as demand for e-books skyrockets, they cannot afford to re-buy e-books. HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, claims that this move is necessary to protect e-book retail sales, physical book sales, and brick-and-mortar bookstores. Do you think that all publishers should take this move to protect book sales? Or do you side with libraries, which are already pinched for money as state budgets are slashed across the country? Would you like to see the price of e-books be kept from going too low or do you see e-books as a natural progression that should not be tampered with?

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Comments

HarperCollins, Libraries and the Digital Lending Time Bomb

Even though we all know there are a limited number of times a print book can be lent before it falls apart or is too damaged to lend again, some object to HarperCollins’ move on an ideological level. A site was even created to boycott the publisher, and bloggers and technology writers are up in arms: don’t limit e-books, they insist.

Unfortunately, the loudest champions of e-books always seem to be the ones who don’t understand the economics of publishing. They want book content just to be available at all times and books should be easily transferred from one person to another.

http://www.bookpublishingreport.com/content/harpercollins-libraries-and-digital-lending-time...

Totally agree, but...

It's got to the point where, just like with songs the market has moved on and you need to have some give and take with the market to keep them on your side.
It is totally justifable to have a cut off with lending to keep the market going, but that cutoff needs to be more realistic when compared with librarians knowledge of, yes a paperback will last longer than 26 lends.
Also with prices of ebooks in general, the reason for books costing so much, especially in hardback was the printing costs, the storage costs, facts that were given to the public for years when they wanted cheaper books. Now there is no storage, there is no printing costs, no shipping costs the publishers shouldn't be wondering why people don't like getting only a few £ or $ discount on the printed edition. Going on the excuses of the past the price should be at least half the cost of the printed version, if not longer.

There needs to be a middle ground in order to keep the market going but to also placate their customers.
In a way it doesn't matter quite as much about the Libraries, they don't have the money to be rebuying books after a year. However realistic the idea is libraries aren't made of money so you won't get them in this climate. They are better off buying print copies, if any copies atall of course.

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