HarperCollins Limits Ebook Lending In Libraries

Irish Library services offering ebooks to their members will face higher costs for some ebooks because of a new condition introduced by publishing giant HarperCollins. The publisher has imposed a 26 loan limit on ebooks licensed to libraries, at that point the license will expire and a new license will have to be purchased to enable further loans.

Josh Marwell, President of Sales at HarperCollins Publishers said in an open letter to librarians that, ‘Twenty-six circulations can provide a year of availability for titles with the highest demand, and much longer for other titles and core backlist.’

Georgina Byrne, Head Librarian in South Dublin Libraries, one of the libraries offering ebooks to members, said that it was the ‘beginning of publishers biting back on digital books’ and that it was ‘very worrying.’

Steve Potash CEO of Overdrive, who supply both South Dublin Libraries and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Libraries the two library services that supply ebooks to members in Ireland, said in a blog post about the issue, ‘OverDrive did not invite, recommend, or suggest the need for any changes in terms.’

Byrne, who only learned about the change in terms over last weekend, said she had, ‘no idea where it will lead’ but that it was ‘ going to cause impact.’ She also said that there was ‘nothing we can do.’

Publishing Ireland was contacted for this article, but the declined to comment.
For an american perspective on this decision, The Library Journal has an interesting piece here.

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