Press Coverage of Libraries/HarperCollins/eBooks Story (Roundup 3)
The press attention continues.
1. “These eBooks Will Self-Destruct After Reading: HarperCollins to Libraries” (by Gregory Ferenstein, Fast Company)
The backlash is not entirely surprising. Hal Varian, now Google’s chief economist, predicated this very dust up a decade ago, “Just as publishers feared circulating libraries and Hollywood feared video rental outlets, today’s producers of digital content fear that the Internet will dilute the value of their intellectual property,” he wrote, “Perhaps some dilution will occur, but the historical record seems to suggest that the expansion of the market may well outweigh the impact of this dilution.” That is, Varian found that access to cheap reading material expanded the number of readers, which, on balance, benefited sellers of content.
“This model eliminates almost all the major advantages of the item’s being digital, without restoring the permanence, durability … and ownership associated with the physical version,” Joe Atzberger, an employee of the State Library of Ohio, wrote on his personal blog. “The boycott will end as soon as HarperCollins agrees not to limit the number of times a library can loan each e-book.”
Beverly Cain, state librarian, is convening a task force to discuss the issue and seek solutions.
“My instincts tell me,” she said, “there are libraries out there that aren’t going to buy HarperCollins’ materials – at least for the time being.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.