Forced Obsolescence

Dear Harper Collins,

I’ve recently become aware of your policy to require libraries to remove your ebooks from circulation after 26 lendings. I agree with Pioneer Library that this is unreasonable and should not occur. I won’t repeat their arguments, since those have been eloquently made. I will add this:

You are not making money from physical copies of books already on library shelves, so why are you using that as an argument for your policy? As demonstrated in the video by Pioneer Library, physical books can survive a lot of check-outs before needing replacement. Far more than 26. In fact, it is very unusual for a physical book to need replacing after 26 check-outs. Your argument does not hold up.
Why are you afraid of ebooks? Why do you insist on holding onto an obsolete system? I am a bibliophile and truly hope that physical books never cease to be. However, I know better than to cling to “the way we’ve always done it”. Please stop fighting and hurting literature by forcing it to fit your paradigm. There are thousands of authors who can and do benefit from e-publishing; you can do so, as well. But not if you throw your weight around like a school-yard bully.
I understand that you are a company and need to have positive cash flows in order to remain in business. I am not trying to tell you that you should not be looking for ways to increase revenues. I am saying that this particular plan is not a good one. Please find a way to keep your business healthy that does not penalize libraries, readers, and authors. This move appears punitive and small-minded, which cannot possibly benefit you in the long run.
Rather than clamping down on ebooks, please find a way to embrace them. Perhaps a subscription fee would work better, such as $0.001 per check-out or a flat $1.00 per 100 check-outs. Technology is changing faster than ever, so it won’t be long before another format comes along that will require distributors to buy updates. You will still have revenue streams.
If you simply must require new purchases, then please consider significantly lowering the price for renewals. There is no reason to charge full price for a digital copy. I know how much work goes into preparing an ebook for release, and the prices currently charged are ridiculous. Let the dead-tree copies pay for themselves; don’t try to recoup costs on a version that didn’t incur them. I believe that you are smarter than that.
I have enjoyed many of your publications and plan to continue doing so. It is my hope that your actions will not cause me to regret my support.
Sincerely,

Sharon T. Rose

Sent to Library.eBook@harpercollins.com

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