Librarians everywhere are understandably bent out of shape over recent events. Apparently several major publishing companies have decided that they don’t like money. More accurately, they’ve decided they are too frightened of having their products, once sold, illegally replicated by library borrowers, to sell them to libraries. How else to explain their decision to refuse to sell e-books to libraries, the places where cheap, thrifty and/or poor people have traditionally been able to borrow books for free? This is ridiculous for many reasons including, but not limited to the following.
-It creates a demand for free, illegally copied e-books because you cannot get them from the library.
-If the security risk is so great, why risk selling the e-book at all? Whose going to stop Joe Schmo from illegally copying the e-book he just purchased?
-In a situation wherein the long-standing, established paradigm is being turned on its head, shouldn’t one, if one happens to be an e-book publisher, remain flexible? Isn’t it possible some previously unseen model, wherein libraries pay something akin to the licensing fees paid by radio stations for songs broadcast over the air (a risky endeavor wherein some canny listener might record the song and, God forbid, listen to it for free, over and over again, and even pass it along–gasp!–to his friends?
This is ridiculous. I’m going home for the weekend and when I get back on monday, hopefully the intellectual property pixies will have everything magically sorted out.