Realistic Wear and Tear — or — You’re Going to Have to Pry this Old-timey, Extremely Overdue Library Book from My Cold, Dead Fingers

The times, they are (sigh) a changin’.  An article appeared in yesterday’s New York Times on HarperCollins Publisher’s decision to limit e-book lending in libraries to 26 times.   Which is, let’s face it, a serious kick in the stomach to libraries whose budgets have already been decimated.   HarperCollins’s policy, understandably motivated by their concern for recouping profits on intellectual property, and based on the notion that E-books don’t undergo the same wear and tear as physical books, has drawn fire from the American Library Association.  Some libraries are boycotting HarperCollins. Librarians at the Pioneer Library System in Oklahoma have taken another tack, creating a short video documenting the actual wear and tear on library books that have been checked out 25, 48, and 140 times.  Here’s my question: 26?  Really, HarperCollins?  26?  But the debate does beg answers to questions about how intellectual property will be managed as it increasingly transitions from physical to electronic formats. -Ed Scripsi

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I posted about this same article today. It is quite a difficult situation.

  2. I know 26 seems like a lot. I was looking at a book of Robert Lowell’s poetry yesterday that was last loaned in 1968.

    I feel really old now.

    — Math Whiz

  3. Bullshit, I say. A friend just bought a book, and I immediately offered that I’d like to borrow it when he’s done. Oh, but it’s an e-book! Can that even be done? Short of my borrowing his device, I would need to copy the content, and I can’t imagine that that’s allowed. This library situation seems far worse.

  4. Actually, you can now “lend” Kindle books to other people with Kindle devices. I haven’t done it yet, but I promised to “lend” my “copy” of Wolf Hall to my Dad next time he gets an opening in his reading list. I’ll let you know how it works out.

  5. Hmm, this was purchased via iTunes to be read on an iPhone. I guess I’ll have to investigate the options. It’s so much simpler with a paper book!

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