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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crippling libraries

I'm outraged about a particular publisher deciding to punish libraries who have e-books.

Full disclosure: I don't read e-books. I may someday, but I haven't tried 'em yet.

Imagine how you'd feel if you were the 27th person who lived somewhere rural, far away from a good bookstore, whatever -- and wanted to read something that you couldn't buy this month. And the library's only allowed to "rent"/lend the e-book 26 times.

Myself, I'm awaiting a status change on Charlie Stross's new Laundry book and Patricia McKillip's latest; they're both still new and can't be requested from other libraries.

With Lois Bujold's Cryoburn, I waited until the print book was off the new book shelf and could be requested. I have checked out hundreds of library books all my life, and that's a conservative guess. Last year alone I went through most of the Ellery Queen series [about 50 books] in 2-3 months.

More from a librarian about this madness. She provides lots of details, including contact info for HarperCollins and Overdrive.

The Analog Divide also has links for Trashy Bitches and Library Journal on this, along with Neilhimself's thoughts.

And another thing; what about the re-readers? I read my favorite books over and over. I honestly couldn't tell you how many times I've read the Miles Vorkosigan books. If I owned an e-book and it had a limit on how many times I could read it, and would expire out of my library...! What if I snagged a library e-book because it rocked and wasn't available in print format -- and that meant that someone else never got to read it?

Retiring or replacing a worn-out print book is NOT like limiting how many times an e-book is accessed!

Thanks to Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing and Lee Harris for tweeting the news. Also, there are a lot of great links and thoughts by commenters at BoingBoing.

I think that people who want the libraries to have more money ought to think about donating to them instead... because we moved away from the subscription-lending libraries quite some time ago.

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