[Libs-Or] Take action against greedy publishers!

Bob Jones Bob.Jones at milton-freewater-or.gov
Fri Feb 25 12:08:09 PST 2011

Oops!  The guy's name is Marwell, not Maxwell.

I'm looking for his e-mail address...

-----Original Message-----
From: libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Bob Jones
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 12:00 PM
To: 'Diedre Conkling'; libs-or at listsmart.osl; PUBLIB
Subject: [Libs-Or] Take action against greedy publishers!

Attention Oregon Libraries:

One major publisher, looking for more profits, has decided eBooks licensed to libraries will only be valid for 26 circulations.  After that you will have to buy it all over again!

This is a very disconcerting development on the part of a greedy publisher.    Libraries must unite in opposition to this "checkout limit" concept, even if it means boycotting publishers who institute it.  It's the thin edge of the wedge.

More than a hundred years ago publishers had similar profit-driven concerns about the availability of books for free at libraries cutting into retail sales.  We need to go back and rediscover how libraries overcame that issue.

According to Library Journal:

"Josh Marwell, President, Sales for HarperCollins, told LJ that the 26 circulation limit was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.

As noted in the letter, the terms will not be specific to OverDrive, and will likewise apply to "all eBook vendors or distributors offering this publisher's titles for library lending." The new terms will not be retroactive, and will apply only to new titles. More details on the new terms are set to be announced next week.

If a lending period is two weeks, the 26 circulation limit is likely to equal roughly one year of use for a popular title. For a three-week lending period, that stretches to a year and a half."

I think I may write to Mr. Maxwell and inform him that, effective immediately, our library will not buy any title from any HarperCollins imprint in any format (print, audio recording, or electronic) as long as his new policy remains in effect.  I will inform patrons seeking HarperCollins titles of the reason we do not have them.  Because many lower-demand titles are profitable primarily through library sales (poetry and reference books come to mind) this action, if taken by a few thousand libraries, would certainly get Mr. Maxwell to reconsider.

Who's with me on this?

Bob Jones, MA, MSLS, CAS
Library Director
Milton-Freewater Public Library

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