[LINK] Libraries react to HarperCollins' restrictions

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Wed Mar 16 09:46:11 AEDT 2011

Fwd: Publishers Lunch
>ALA Says Harper's Policy "Threatens Libraries," Plans Site to Help 
>Develop New Model
>The American Library Association (ALA) took a position for the first 
>time yesterday on HarperCollins' new library ebook licensing 
>restrictions in a short statement. They led: "As libraries cope with 
>stagnant or decreased budgets, the recent decision by publisher 
>HarperCollins to restrict the lending of e-books to a limited number 
>of circulations per copy threatens libraries' ability to provide 
>their users with access to information."
>ALA President Roberta Stevens says, "The announcement, at a time 
>when libraries are struggling to remain open and staffed, is of 
>grave concern. This new limitation means that fewer people will have 
>access to an increasingly important format for delivering 
>information." Stevens adds that "the transition to the e-book format 
>should not result in less availability. The marketplace for e-books 
>is changing rapidly. We encourage publishers to look to libraries as 
>a vehicle to reach and grow diverse audiences."
>In a separate dispatch to member Stevens had to explain that she 
>"held back on a public statement on the recent decision by Harper 
>Collins to restrict the lending of e-books until the Equitable 
>Access to Electronic Information Task Force (EQUACC) met last week. 
>Please know that I heard your voices of concern about the impact of 
>additional costs on your libraries and ability to meet the needs of 
>the communities you serve."
>Within a week the ALA and EQUACC intend to launch a website 
>"dedicated to developing a model for e-book lending." But the ALA's 
>press release oversteps in going from the general issue to a 
>paragraph on the shaky meme that libraries are responsible for the 
>success of Elizabeth Gilbert's EAT, PRAY, LOVE, including the 
>unfortunately false assertion that the 2006 book "didn't become a 
>bestseller until March 2007." (The hardcover appeared on lists from 
>the NYT, LAT, ABA, SF Chronicle and USA Today within a month of its release.)
>The NYT catches up on the controversy, noting that "it is still a 
>surprise to many consumers that e-books are available in libraries 
>at all." So far Harper has received more attention--and 
>criticism--than publishers that do not provide ebooks to libraries 
>under any terms. Macmillan head John Sargent reiterates their 
>position to the paper: "We are working diligently to try to find 
>terms that satisfy the needs of the libraries and protect the value 
>of our intellectual property. When we determine those terms, we will 
>sell e-books to libraries."

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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