Thursday, February 24, 2011

New OverDrive DRM terms: "This message will self-destruct"

In a 4-page "Library Partner Update" PDF from OverDrive's Steve Potash, he reveals an imminent change in their eBook DRM terms:
To provide you with the best options, we have been required to accept and accommodate new terms for eBook lending as established by certain publishers. Next week, OverDrive will communicate a licensing change from a publisher that, while still operating under the one-copy/one-user model, will include a checkout limit for each eBook licensed. Under this publisher’s requirement, for every new eBook licensed, the library (and the OverDrive platform) will make the eBook available to one customer at a time until the total number of permitted checkouts is reached. This eBook lending condition will be required of all eBook vendors or distributors offering this publisher’s titles for library lending (not just OverDrive).
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.

This goes a step worse so that each digital "copy" effectively self-destructs after a set number of reads in your system or consortium. That is to say, if you wanted to help blunt the crushing demand for a popular title, this would only help you slightly, if at all. And only one user at a time. And only if your users are faster than the rest of the consortium. After that you (and the rest of your consortium) are straight out of luck. Guess you should have bought more print copies?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders store closings

As part of its bankruptcy, about a third of Borders stores will close, including two here in Columbus. While you check the list for your locals, ask yourself when was the last time you were there?

For me, probably 2004.

Bigtime Bookseller Hits the Wall

Borders Books, once on the cutting edge of inventory control and large format retail, is now bankrupt:

It’s easy to understand why, since they owe literally a BILLION dollars a year on rent.

Google and Wikipedia replace textbooks

A study in Ohio found that college intro. psychology students who only use Google and Wikipedia instead of texts or eBooks score just as well:

This suggests a severe disadvantage to publishers since both texts and eBooks cost money, are less convenient, etc. Arguably Google and Wikipedia are updated more frequently, too.