>Gaiman, put your money where your mouth is!

>If you haven’t already heard: Harper Collins is Evil

We had a meeting about it at our branch, so I decided to highlight some points for you:

– HarperCollins chose 26 checkouts because the standard loan period is 2 weeks, this gives the library about one year worth of use for the eBook. Apparently books only last for a year….

– OverDrive, which is the distributor that most libraries use for downloadable eBooks, didn’t really stand up to HarperCollins, they rolled over and let libraries take another hit. Apparently OverDrive agrees with Harper Collins that libraries replace the majority of their physical collection every year!

– The way OverDrive works is that the library systems have to buy a license to use it and then purchase the books separately (at around $100 a book). This means that you will have to renew your license every year with OverDrive as well as re-purchase the book every time it hits 26 check outs. OverDrive doesn’t allow for libraries to purchase pre-selected collections for the price of the license, so that means paying for the service and for the product separately.

– The 26 check out limit poses a problem for librarians. “Do you have this book?” becomes a guessing game. “Well it was here yesterday, but it may have been removed from our collection because it hit 26 check outs.” It will also delete the hold that someone has on the book, so if you reserve a book and it’s checked out 26 times, it will cancel your reserve. I so look forward to patrons wondering why they are no longer on reserve for the eBook. “I’m sorry, according to HarperCollins, this book would have been removed from our collection after 26 check outs and it looks like you would have been check out number 27.”

– The consortium of libraries (ours includes 13 libraries) means that we are sharing the 26 check outs and thus every library within the system only has around 2 check outs. Sorry small public libraries!

-HarperCollins is requesting the library card policies of libraries who distribute their eBooks. They want to make sure that non-residents can not get a library card and download books

This entire situation has really rubbed me the wrong way. As someone who deals with the in’s and out’s of the library system daily, it is scary to see something like this happen. Some publishers have just flat out said, “No way” to letting their eBooks exist on OverDrive and the general consensus is that libraries are suppose to be happy that HarperCollins has decided to give us any books at all, but that (to me) is just backwards.

I hope this doesn’t sway other publishers to start doing the same thing, if that is the case then many of the smaller libraries will no longer be able to afford to carry eBooks through OverDrive.

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