HarperCollins Sets Checkout Limit On eBooks At Libraries

HarperCollins doesn’t want those eBooks of theirs to get torn up, so it makes perfect sense that they’ve set a limit of 26 checkouts for the eBooks titles it has licensed to libraries. Wait, eBooks can’t get damaged, so, what’s the big idea?

The publishing company has just recently instituted this new policy of the 26-loan limit, which means after that amount of checkouts is reached, the library must pay for a new license if they want to continue lending the book electronically.

According to the Libary Journal libraries were informed in a note from OverDrive, the company that distributes the digital books.

Libraries are none too happy with this decision, as evidenced by Pioneer Library System’sopen letter to HarperCollins, which reads in part:

The rationale offered by the publisher is since paper books wear out and need to be replaced if they are to remain in a library’s collection, the same should be true of their electronic formats. The publisher argues that it should not be denied revenues that come from reselling replacement books and resources. Because the publisher assumes digital resources never deteriorate, they have set an arbitrary limit to the number of times an electronic resource can be accessed. Not planned obsolescence. Forced obsolescence.

What do you think? Should there be a cap on digital checkouts? If so, is 26 a reasonable amount?

You can also check out a video made by librarians showing what the equivalent 26 (or in some cases, more) physical checkouts would to do a book.

HarperCollins Puts 26 Loan Cap on Ebook Circulations [Library Journal]

Open Letter to HarperCollins & Readers of eBooks [Pioneer Library System]

Thanks to Consumerist reader April S. for the tip!