Libraries should only lend ebooks '26 times'

Written by Antony Leather

March 7, 2011 // 11:01 a.m.

Tags: #amazon #book #ebook #kindle #library

UK publisher HarperCollins has hit out at libraries in the US in an attempt to stop ebooks being lent more than 26 times.

Clearly concerned about revenues from replacement books, HarperCollins claims that the average library book is replaced after 26 loans. After this time, the library replaces the book, providing a revenue stream for publishers that's as old as libraries themselves.

With the advent of ebooks, this revenue stream is under threat - there's simply no need to replace an ebook. Ever. However, according to an article in The Guardian, HarperCollins' sales president, Josh Marwell, believes that's only fair: 26, he claims, is the average number of loans a print book would survive before having to be replaced.

However, the article also mentions a statement by Philip Bradley, vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. He says: 'Clearly, printed books last a lot longer than 26 loans.' US librarians have also hit back, posting videos on YouTube of a mint condition book that has been borrowed 48 times, and another that's still in perfectly serviceable condition after 120 loans.

Should publishers such as HarperCollins be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, should they be allowed to limit the number of loans for ebooks in libraries? Let us know in the forums.

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