Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Controversy in the E-book World

I’ve written about the battle of e-book pricing between Amazon and major publishers before. I’ve also written about the growing rate of e-book piracy, and the significant decrease in print sales, but this week I read about a new conflict: the looming battle between publishers and libraries.

A recent article by Mary Ann Gwinn of The Seattle Times, stated that HarperCollins recently decided to limit the number of times their e-books can be borrowed before the library has to pay for the right to circulate the e-book again. The number they decided on was 26. Hmm.

What if that e-book happens to be something as hot as The Harry Potter novels or the Twilight series? Needless to say, libraries are not happy with HarperCollins’ decision. Really, should they be made to pay repeatedly for an e-book simply because it’s popular? As one librarian noted, no one asks them to pull a print book off the shelf after it’s been taken more than 26 times, so why is the publisher demanding they do so with e-books? Unfortunately, HarperCollins’ books apparently count for 22%of all borrowed books at the Seattle Public Library. The library’s stats also show that over 300,000 books in their system are checked out 26 times or more. You can see why there’s a battle brewing. It’s going to be interesting to see how this turns out. To read more of Gwinn’s interesting article, go to

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