Monday, February 28, 2011

Boycott HarperCollins

For Immediate Release


Library Users, Librarians, and Libraries Boycott HarperCollins Over Change in Ebook Terms

New York, NY -- Library users, librarians, and libraries have begun to boycott publisher HarperCollins over changes to the terms of service that would limit the ability of library users to borrow ebooks from libraries. A new website,, is helping to organize their efforts to get HarperCollins to return to the previous terms of service.

On February 24, Steve Potash, the Chief Executive Officer of OverDrive, sent an email to the company's customers -- primarily US libraries -- announcing that some of the ebooks they get from OverDrive would be disabled after they had circulated 26 times. Soon after, librarians learned that it was HarperCollins, a subsidiary of News Corporation (NWSA), that intended to impose these limits. Immediately, library users, librarians, and libraries began voicing their opposition to the plan by HarperCollins, with several library users and librarians urging a boycott.

As Joe Atzberger, of Columbus, Ohio, one of the first librarians to address the issue, wrote on his Atzblog:

"The previous model already forced libraries to pretend a digital 'copy' was a single physical thing. Only one library's user can have it 'checked out' at a time. And only on one device. The clearly misapplied language around this tells you what a terrible idea it is. To be clear, this model eliminates almost all the major advantages of the item's being digital, without restoring the permanence, durability, vendor-independence, technology-neutrality, portability, transferability, and ownership associated with the physical version."

Information on this grassroots campaign can be reached via a website that went online on February 27, 2011, The boycott will end as soon as HarperCollins agrees not to limit the number of times a library can loan each ebook.

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