What HarperCollins and OverDrive think of libraries.

In case it is unclear why librarians, library lovers, and just plain anyone who has sense are all up in arms over HarperCollins, OverDrive, and the 26-circulation cap, let’s clear it up right now.

Libraries circulate a book to patrons as many times as they can. This limit is often decided by the state of the book, which means that when wear-and-tear adds up, the book is taken out of circulation to be mended or retired and perhaps replaced with a newer copy or a newer edition.

If libraries treated their print collections as HarperCollins and OverDrive want them to treat their ebook collections, all books would disintegrate after 26 checkouts.

Books. Gone. After being researched, purchased, cataloged, recommended, and circulated to library patrons. Regardless of ebooks’ unique ability to withstand wear-and-tear, being all digital and therefore awesome.

Let’s not mention the fact that not all print books see enough wear-and-tear to be replaced. Let’s not mention it because apparently it didn’t occur to HarperCollins or OverDrive, and clearly they are the ones who should be running libraries. They definitely know what libraries are all about: the bottom line! Right?

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