HarperCollins Announces 26 Loan Limit on E-book Circulation for Libraries

Craig Morgan Teicher -- February 25th, 2011

HarperCollins has announced a 26 loan limit on e-book lending for libraries, reports Library Journal. This means that new e-books licensed to libraries from vendors can only be loaned 26 times before the license expires and a new one must be purchased.

According to LJ, libraries first got wind of this development in a note from OverDrive last week, in which CEO Steve Potash wrote “Next week, OverDrive will communicate a licensing change from a publisher that, while still operating under the one-copy/one-user model, will include a checkout limit for each eBook licensed.” HarperCollins confirmed that it was the publisher Potash was referring to in a communication with LJ today.

LJ goes on to report libraries’ frustration with these new terms, which are not specific to OverDrive clients:

For librarians—many of whom are already frustrated with ebooks lending policies and user interface issues—further license restrictions seem to come at a particularly bad time, given strained budgets nationwide. It may also disproportionately affect libraries that set shorter loan periods for ebook circulation.

For more detail, check out the full LJ story.  PW will follow up with a fuller report soon.

2 thoughts on “HarperCollins Announces 26 Loan Limit on E-book Circulation for Libraries

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  2. Mike Perry

    HarperCollins is making a bad choice. Buying-to-loan contracts make no sense with ebooks, especially with arbitrary limits on the number of checkouts. What does make sense is offering the title itself without a fee and assessing reasonable, per-checkout charges with no limitations on the number that can be checked at any one time or on the total number of checkouts.

    The advantage is obvious. Even a rural or small-town library could offer its clients every ebook title that HarperCollins has on the market. The more availability, the more income. It’s really that simple. And that income would be spread over decades, creating a steady cash flow for both publishers and authors. A centralized distribution system could be set up so libraries don’t have to manage large book databases and to prevent cheating.

    As a small publisher myself, I’d be absolutely delighted to put our titles into a large, multi-publisher ebook pool organized along those lines. HarperCollins would do well to consider the idea too.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books, Seattle

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