Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Official: Publishers Hate Libraries

Penguin is the latest publisher to suspend e-book availability for library users.  According to this report: 
Publishers have become increasingly nervous about the growing use of e-books by library users, who can check out the books remotely without ever entering a library. The concern is that consumers who own e-readers will stop buying e-books and begin borrowing them for free instead.
Naturally, publishers have always wished that people would buy their books instead of borrowing them from libraries or purchasing them second-hand.  But until now, owing to the "first-sale doctrine" (without which libraries as we know them couldn't exist), they haven't found a technological or legal means of preventing this practice (although they have been able to charge libraries much higher fees for periodical subscriptions than what they charge individual subscribers).  Now, with e-books, they can do what they've always wanted to do, because when you purchase an e-book you don't receive anything but a license to use the content subject to various conditions.  Next time you buy a $9.99 e-book for your Kindle or iPad, bear in mind that you might be able to borrow a print copy from your local library for free.

Interestingly, the "first-sale doctrine" has recently been cited as legal grounds for re-selling digital music files...  

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