HarperCollins recently made news for proposing a 26 checkout limit on their ebooks from public libraries.
This is crazy, right?
One one hand, basic ownership rights seem to apply. When a library buys a book, they own it, right? It isn’t the fault of libraries that ebooks never die. I like the idea that if we purchase a Beezus and Ramona ebook for my library, we own it forever. Well, ebooks are a bit different, as you don’t actually “own” an ebook – just the license for one.
But I can see where HarperCollins is coming from in terms of wanting to maintain the status quo.
I recently re-purchased almost every Ramona title for two of my school libraries. They were getting on in years, grungy, and were in need of a cover refresh. This sort of thing goes on at every library around the country. It isn’t a scam – the books break down over time or start to look dated and new copies are needed.
Now imagine if every Ramona book, at every library, never needed to be purchased again. No matter your opinion on ebooks, that’s a huge change.
But this 26 checkout business reminds me a little of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story Harrison Bergeron – it feels like an artificial handicap that can’t last.
Where do you stand?
(Top Image: ‘eBook Readers Galore‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/43017881@N00/5052936803)