Feeds

Library e-books to become too tatty to lend

Digital copies must not outlast paper one, HarperCollins insists

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Does an e-book wear out? If it’s from publisher HarperCollins and belongs to a library, then the answer is now 'yes' – and potentially in as short a time as one year.

New terms introduced by the publishing giant mean that instead of being sold with a perpetual licence, as they are now, e-books sold to libraries will be limited to just 26 loans.

With many libraries having a default lending period of two weeks, that means that a popular book could need replacing after just one year.

Libraries already work with e-books on the basis of one copy, one loan, leading to waiting lists for popular titles, which will mean that those will have the shortest life span before ‘wearing out’.

HarperCollins claimed in the Library Journal that the 26-loan figure reflected the average lifespan of a paper book, after which it is too tatty, torn or stained to offer for lending, forcing the library to buy a new, replacement copy.

If its e-books don't disintegrate virtually, the publisher said, libraries will not replace them, costing it sales revenue.

Many librarians dispute this claimed lifespan, and some said they can now no longer afford to offer HarperCollins e-books. With many library services facing budget cuts, few will relish the prospect of having to replace e-books on an annual basis.

Perhaps in response to the outraged librarians, HarperCollins US' President of Sales, Josh Marwell, wrote an open letter claiming that the new system will provide for cheap renewals of expired e-books, and should cost libraries less overall, though without figures, that can’t be verified.

Reg Hardware spoke to OverDrive, which runs e-book lending services for 50 UK libraries, and told us the new policy would be applied worldwide.

HarperCollins UK described the 26-loan limit as one of “many models that may need to be tested before we reach the optimum outcome”, adding that it was preferable to simply not allowing e-book lending, which is the line taken by some publishers. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.