Hoopla Digital and HarperCollins Disrupt Library E-Lending

As much as I would like to be able to read any library ebook without waiting, this model has some sobering implications for library finances. I have read more than a few stories about libraries having to limit Hoopla downloads for patrons mid-month because of the effect of unexpectedly high usage by patrons on the budget.

What do you think of the idea?

Copyright and Technology

An announcement this week by hoopla digital and HarperCollins augurs big changes in the ways that public libraries make e-books available. It sets the stage for realignment of the relationships between publishers and libraries, and it could have longer-term ripple effects on the entire e-book market.

For more than a decade, public libraries have been able to “lend” e-books using a certain model: the library “acquires” a title through an e-lending platform such as OverDrive; the library then has one “copy” that it can make available to patrons at a time. The platform sends each patron a DRM-protected file that allows reading for up to the library’s lending period. If one patron has the e-book “checked out” then another patron can’t read it until the period expires or the first patron “returns” it.

The library technologist Eric Hellman calls this model “Pretend It’s Print (PIP),” while the industry term…

View original post 1,145 more words

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