Feeds

Library ebooks must SELF-DESTRUCT if scribes want dosh - review

Shovel UK taxpayer cash this way please, say publishers

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The UK government will consider paying writers each time their ebooks and audio books are borrowed from public libraries - just like scribes are recompensed when their dead-tree tomes are loaned.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey announced a decision will be made after a formal review concluded libraries must stock digital titles or become "increasingly irrelevant". It's hoped that by paying novelists and poets for ebook loans, their publishers will offer the electronic works to libraries, and that this will entice Brits back into public libraries.

But the same review - carried out by a publisher - also recommended that ebooks "deteriorate" just like paper titles, forcing Blighty to buy new copies as they would with dead-tree-printed stock.

The government said the "challenging economic climate" had stopped it from including ebooks and audio books in its Public Lending Right programme, which pays out millions of pounds of taxpayers' cash each year to copyright holders whose material is available from public libraries.

But now we're told the administration will "consider commending the appropriate [ebook and audio book lending] provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010".

"E-lending represents one of many technological developments that can help libraries meet the increasingly high expectations of their membership," Vaizey said.

The ebook borrowing review was overseen by publisher William Sieghart and investigated concerns by writers, booksellers and media giants that digital lending would encourage people to never buy books again.

"Publishers have been collectively nervous of applying the same model for selling digital books as for their printed counterparts, when it comes to selling to libraries," the independent panel concluded in its review.

"This is because of their concerns about remote downloading, where a library member downloads a book on to a digital device via the internet, avoiding the need for a visit to the library at all… publishers and booksellers fear that it would be too easy to borrow a book for free. So easy in fact, that the borrower might never need to buy another book."

However, the review pointed out that loaning out ebooks in the same way as printed books should no more stop people from buying new books than it does now. Rules such as only lending one ebook to one reader at a time for a limited time would "eradicate concerns about impact on revenue", the review stated.

The panel also recommended that digital copies of books should "deteriorate" so publishers can fake them getting worn out and force libraries to buy them again.

"Their printed counterparts naturally deteriorate, forcing popular books to be repurchased. This principle therefore should be applied to digital books; otherwise publishers would be unfairly discriminated against," the review said.

Ebooks aren't about to suddenly show up in all British libraries despite the recommendations: the review suggested that publishers, booksellers and libraries should run a trial so they can figure out a smooth national rollout for 2014. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire
Welcome to GOV.UK - digital by de ... FAULT
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.