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, BoycottHarperCollins.com, 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, BoycottHarperCollins.com. The
boycott will end as soon as HarperCollins agrees not to limit the
number of times a library can loan each ebook.