Thursday, November 01, 2012

Libraries and ebooks: YOU DON'T OWN IT

From Rapp on This by intellectual property lawyer Paul Rapp.

This issue [of ebooks] is getting especially dicey with libraries that want to do what libraries should do with ebooks, lend them out Publishers, which have always hated libraries, have no idea what to do. Remember, ebooks are tethered, so a library can’t just go online and buy an ebook, because it can only be read on one device, or one owner’s devices. So, for ebook lending to work, publishers need to provide libraries ebooks with looser controls, that can be moved across platforms, and shared with the public. Several publishers have simply refused to allow this, and have kept their ebooks off of libraries' digital shelves. Several publishers provide ebooks capable of being lent out, but gouge the libraries for as much as 300% of normal retail prices. One publisher doesn’t allow its ebooks to work on certain devices it doesn’t like, and another electronically limits its library ebooks to 26 loans. 26. One more than 25.

What a stupid mess.

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