Jumping Through Hoops
Just when I think that publishers have stopped devising new ways to make libraries jump through hoops with e-books, something new happens. My initial reaction to the Overdrive announcement this morning regarding the release of Harry Potter books on April 30th was one of surprise. I didn’t think we would ever see this day! Then I started reading the fine print attached to the email. The first notice was that the license was only good for five years. This is a new twist on limiting circulation, but one I could readily understand. After all, I suspect that our print Harry Potter books don’t last much longer than that.
The next revelation from Overdrive was the one that made my heart sink. If you look at the Content Reserve ordering screen in OverDrive, Potter e-books have only the EPUB format listed next to the individual titles, not a Kindle Support statement. Potentially, this means that no one who owns a Kindle device will be able to borrow our Harry Potter e-books. Happy are the Nook owners, those who have a Kobo or Sony device, and the smart phone & iPad users! Now, can you imagine the confusion and/or frustration this is going to cause our e-reading public. We’re already telling them that if they own a Kindle and want a book published by Penguin, they must use a USB connection to download it. If they want one from Random House or other publishers, they can do it wirelessly. Now we’re about to tell them they are barred from borrowing e-books by J.K. Rowling.
How many hoops are we going to force our users to go through in order to read a book digitally? At some point, they are simply going to give up and either purchase it for their device or go back to print format. And what of our staff… how can we realistically expect them to remember each and every variation from publishers and e-reading devices. It’s one thing to be on the bleeding edge of technology, but this is getting just plain ridiculous!