January 20, 2021

NY Times: "As Library E-Books Live Long, Publisher Sets Expiration Date"

A new article (more than 1100 words) about HarperCollins, libraries and eBooks by Julie Bosman.

“People just felt gobsmacked,” said Anne Silvers Lee, the chief of the materials management division of the Free Library of Philadelphia, which has temporarily stopped buying HarperCollins e-books. “We want e-books in our collections, our customers are telling us they want e-books, so I want to be able to get e-books from all the publishers. I also need to do it in a way that is not going to be exorbitantly expensive.”

But some librarians said the change, however unwelcome, had ignited a public conversation about e-books in libraries that was long overdue. While librarians are pushing for more e-books to satisfy demand from patrons, publishers, with an eye to their bottom lines, are reconsidering how much the access to their e-books should be worth.

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Random House, for example, has no immediate plans to change the terms of its agreements with libraries, said Stuart Applebaum, a spokesman for the publisher, but has not ruled it out in the future.

“Anything we institute ahead we’d really want to talk through with the community and together understand what makes sense for us both,” Mr. Applebaum said. “We’re open to changes in the future which are in reasonable step with the expectations and realities of the overall library communities.”

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See Also: The Most Recent INFOdocket Compilation of Press Coverage About This Story

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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