buy our e-books…just don’t try to lend them or lend them too much

greetings, fellow readers,

so i’m fresh from my presentation at the libris conference 2011 held in beautiful orangeburg, south carolina. my presentation basically talks about what libraries should consider before implementing a lending policy for e-reading devices (or tablets). part of my presentation is on the concept of content vs. product. that when purchasing e-books, you are purchasing a license to view content, not the electronic version of a book.

also in my presentation i discuss amazon and it’s tendency to take back e-books from purchasers if there’s a cloud on the copyright assignment. i also talk about the fact that several companies have cropped up for e-book consumers to lend their e-book to others.

i say all that to say this…watch out, publishers are on the warpath! they’re crazy fired up with the prospect of lost revenue. they see dollars flying out of windows, through doors and out of e-readers and tablets. i mean if every individual doesn’t buy their own copy of an e-book, wherever shall we go, whatever shall we do. we can’t wait to think about it tomorrow, even though tomorrow is another day. oh, fiddle dee dee (apologies to margaret mitchell)

let me tell you what i’m talking about. when amazon decided to allow (with publisher permission) ebooks to be loaned (shared) between devices, several companies cropped up to assist consumers with lending e-books: lendle, eBookFling, and BookLending to name a few. these are websites where consumers register and list the books they are willing to lend, and others who want to borrow said books can do that. usually it’s a 14-day loan and then the loan expires.

in the meantime, harper collins (the publisher that owns overdrive, the company that allows libraries to lend e-books) decided that unlimited lending of e-books was, oh, how do you say, wrong. so they instituted (or is trying to institute) a 26-loan limit per e-book title. once the title has been loaned 26 times, the library will have to purchase a new license for the next 26 loans.

now comes word that macmillan has decided that maybe they don’t want some of their e-books to be loaned. so they are changing their status from lendable to not lendable. the issue? they are changing the lendability of titles AFTER the point of sale!! so you may have purchased a kindle e-book from amazon that was published by macmillan. and it may have said lending: enabled. and you thought, neato! i can lend this to my sister-in-law when i’m done. now, it’s a few weeks later and you go to look at lending your book and sacre bleu, you can no longer lend it.

cheeky monkeys, those publishers. so what’s a consumer to do? and if that’s an issue for individuals, what the heck are libraries supposed to do? if you’re library is loaning kindles or nooks, what is the status of those e-books at any given time? and for how long?

will e-books become fleeting phantoms? that doesn’t bode well for the storytellers out there who want their readers to know and love their stories and make them as well-worn as the velveteen rabbit. who doesn’t want that?

here’s what some other folks have to say:

bookborrowr – are publishers opting out of ebook lending?

happy reading…no matter the format.

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