Jane from Dear Author and Sarah from Smart Bitches Trashy Books both posted today about the HORRIBLE limitations HarperCollins is hoping to place on libraries who lend e-books. I recommend going and reading either or both of those posts, as they provide a good overview of what’s going on.
If you didn’t bother clicking the links, what’s going on is that HarperCollins is allowing libraries who buy a new title to lend it only 26 times before renewing their license. Essentially, they are saying that libraries must buy a new copy. After 26 lendings. Cause that’s how often print books need to be replaced, am I right? The especially frustrated thing about this is that libraries are already only allowed to lend e-books one at a time. In fact, for many titles, libraries can’t relend the e-book even if it was returned early!
The other thing that HarperCollins did was “express concerns” over library “card issuance policies” and the “qualification of patrons” who will have access to e-books. I will be honest with you, this makes me boil with fucking rage. STOP treating me like a damned pirate. I WANT to buy your damned books. Don’t make them ridiculously expensive (why should an e-book be the same price as a print book when readers don’t have the same user rights: that is, to lend and resell) and don’t make them hard to access!
Here’s the thing, Mr. and Mrs. Publishers: You want to sell books and readers want to read books. These two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You see how I said “and we want to read them,” not “but”? No, they don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but you act like we’re your enemies. STOP IT. Yes, consumers like free things. We also like to support the people who create things we like. For every book I borrow from the library, I buy two or three. If I read the first book in a series or by a new-to-me author, no matter where I got it, I am far more likely to buy the next books.
But here’s the real thing: In battles between producers and consumers, consumers always win. If we can’t get books cheaply and easily, many people will either stop reading or drastically reduce their reading habit. If people stop reading, you will lose. You depend on us. We are your livelihood, not the other way around. You will fail, and then the many, many people who love books will suffer, too.
STOP BEING IDIOTS. PLEASE.
P.S. I apologize for my angry ranting. I just! I get so angry when people do things to limit my reading and those “people” are almost always publishers. >=(