Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Step Forward, and Two Steps Back

So, after reading Jordan's blog post on 'The Future of eBooks', I've decided to do what I do best, rant.

As of March 7, Harper Collins is enstating a 26-limit checkout for its eBooks. So after a book, in its digital format, is checked out 26 times a library is going to have to purchase a new license to get another "copy." The lending period for eBooks on Overdrive gives you a maximum of 2 weeks, so you're saying after a year that digital copy should be thrown out? Libraries that manage on a very small budget would laugh in your face on that one. Look at us, recently I've seen books being discarded that are as old as me (23), or books that I read as a kid. We don't throw out books unless we absolutetly have to. Pages could be falling out, the cover could be ripped, it could be stained; yet beggers can't be choosers right? We repair that book until it is no longer possible. Small libraries, or libraries functioning on a small budget; have to pinch pennies, plan carefully in order to get new books or technologies, apply for grants, you name it. Hey, I'm even paid for by a grant! We have to make sacrifices, but it's all for the benefit of our community. I full understand, and support the boycotting of Harper Collins. Libaries took a huge leap foward with the unveiling of this eBook technology, now only to take a few steps back with this outrageous limit. Yes, a paper book has a life cycle, but it certainly is not 26 checkouts.

To play devils advocate, I can sympathize with authors as well, because it IS a loss of income, yet it's not as if the whole world knows about Overdrive (yet). People, (like me) still purchase paper books, or buy a digital copy for my eReader. Not everyone enjoys borrowing a book and having to give it back when they're done; many people still own novels. Espcially with Overdrive eBooks, you have a maximum of two weeks, there is no renewing it, that's your deadline. So yes, it may be a miniscule loss of income, but if you look at how libraries have thrived from this new technology, doesn't promoting literacy seem more valueable? It's not like authors make minimum wage. I've seen the enormous benefit our library has had from Overdrive announcing it's free eBooks,  and I believe that Harper Collins and its agents should walk a day in our shoes to truly understand the outrage in the library community. 

1 comment:

  1. This 26 checkout rule came into effect TODAY. Many libraries, especially those who belong to a consortium, have announced that they will no longer subscribe to Overdrive! This is an interesting issue and it is definitely changing the future of eBooks... Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.