Who else caught Tuesday’s article in The New York Times, “Publisher Limits Shelf Life for Library E-Books,” by Julie Bosman? In her article, Bosman reported that HarperCollins has changed its policy on the sale of e-books to libraries. For the past decade or so, HarperCollins followed the common publishing model, which said that once a library bought an e-book from a publisher, the library owned that title forever; meaning it had the right to lend out the e-book, one reader at a time, for an unlimited number of times.
But last week, HarperCollins upended that agreement by imposing a 26-checkout limit before the purchasing agreement expired. After that, the library would have to buy the e-book again.
The e-book battle was on. As Bosman wrote, cybrarians said it was unfair and threatened to boycott e-books from HarperCollins. HarperCollins defended the move by saying in a statement that selling e-books to libraries in perpetuity could, among other things, “place additional pressure on physical bookstores, and in the end lead to a decrease in book sales and royalties paid to authors.”
Of particular interest to authors was a separate statement HC made, that it needed "to protect our authors and ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come."
Bosman's article quoted several librarians and publishers, but no authors. So I wondered what some of our Paper Wait readers thought, since most of you are published authors or pre-published writers.
So tell me, what does this change in e-book library lending rights mean to you? Do you agree that Harpercollins' new policy really protects your rights as an author/writer? Do you think it will make a difference in terms of the royalties you collect? Are you grateful for or angered by the change? Or do you feel like it has too little impact on you personally to give it a second thought?
Authors/writers, I’d love to hear from you. Of course, comments from librarians and publishers, former or current, are welcome, too.