Harper Collins controversy three years later

I am a bit late weighing in on this topic but I will go with better late than never.

I have read many articles that were in support of and against the revised e-book purchasing system that Harper Collins put in place for libraries. Library workers and patrons were in an uproar about the change. Harper Collins’ new policy would only allow an e-book to have 26 electronic check outs before the library would be required to purchase another license at a discounted (paperback book) rate. The concern was the cost of repurchasing new e-books. Harper Collins found this to be a fair process and the standoff began.

A movement began to boycott Harper Collins. Like any good boycott, the purpose was to ensure Harper Collins would feel the financial hit from consumers to get them to change their minds. They did not. But some of the libraries changed theirs when they saw what was offered from some of the other publishers.

After reading several articles, I found myself supporting Harper Collins. Some of my reasons are as follows:

1.) Authors, publishers, editors, advertisers and IT departments all get a portion of the proceeds. The publishing companies add-on an additional cost when the decided to offer books via e-book. They did not quit offering paper copies of books, they added another process, additional employees and resources in the form of programmers, servers etc. What is the cost to them? Who should they pass the costs too?
2.) They do not have a forced renewal program based upon time for all of the books they offer. You renew a title, at a discounted rate, after the maximum number of usages is reached. Some other publishers don’t offer the books immediately. Libraries what to offer popular books when they are first available on the market, that is the draw the them and satisfaction of their customer.
3.) Libraries are realizing they are not as negatively affected as they thought they would be. They are not running out of their initial 26 checkout options at the rate they thought they would.

Harper Collins stuck to their business model and libraries are coming around and seeing it’s not such a terrible model after all. Not all have embraced the changes but they are adapting and accepting the change.


Kelley, M. (2012, February 17). One Year Later, Harper Collins Sticking to 26-Loan Cap, and Some Librarians Rethink Opposition – The Digital Shift. The Digital Shift. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2012/02/ebooks/one-year-later-harpercollins-sticking-to-26-loan-cap-and-some-librarians-rethink-opposition/

Kelley, M. (2012, October 24). Giving HarperCollins’s Ebook Model Some Credit and More Thought | Editorial. Library Journal. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/10/opinion/editorial/a-modest-ebook-proposal-a-big-six-publisher-has-already-provided-a-model-to-build-on/#_

Vaccaro, A. (2014, June 27). Why It’s Difficult For Your Library to Stock Ebooks. Boston.com. Retrieved July 27, 2014, from http://www.boston.com/business/technology/2014/06/27/why-difficult-for-your-library-stock-ebooks/rrl464TPxDaYmDnJewOmzH/story.html

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