Analysis of HarperCollins Strategy for eBooks in Libraries

I am very interested in the current disruption going on in the publishing industry due to the digitization of books (eBooks).

I bought my first eReader back in February 2010 and I’m on my second eReader (NOOKcolor).  What a fantastic way to read.  And all those .pdf’s on web for continuing eduction?  They’re on my NOOKcolor too.  ‘Lean Back’ technology is a wonderful thing!

Recently, the publisher HarperCollins announced that their eBooks at public libraries would have a 26 checkout limit before the license expires.  I.e. Libraries will have to buy another license (copy) after a book is checked out 26 times.  HarperCollins’ reasoning is that ‘physical’ books [also know as DTB‘s – Dead Tree Books] ‘wear out’ so therefore eBooks should ‘wear out’ too.

Personally, I think it is ‘silly’ to map business models from ‘physical’ objects to their ‘digital’ counterpart.  The digital ‘world’ should have its own set of business models/rules.

HarperCollins’ proposal is causing a stir with the Libraries.  Both Publishers and Libraries are trying to survive the disruption, but neither are going about it very well.

Here is a link to a nice analysis on the potential impact of HarperCollins 26-checkout-expiration’ rule by Eric Hellman on TeleRead.


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