Penguin drops relationship with Overdrive.com
Back in November, I wrote about the publisher Penguin pulling some e-books from public library lending, then restoring them.
Well, as of February 10, 2012, they are severing their relationship with Overdrive.com, which effectively cuts off most public library loans. There does seem to be ongoing negotiations, but this is definitely a change.
They may work out some sort of continuance program meaning that for now, books that are already in library e-book collections from Penguin will be available. However, they also are prohibiting wireless lending of Kindle editions.
We have to be a bit careful about this. Penguin is not saying that they don’t want their e-books available through public libraries period…just through Overdrive. However, since Overdrive is so dominant, that’s a bit like saying you can use your boat anywhere except the water.
Macmillan and Simon & Schuster (and I believe Hachette) already don’t license e-books to public libraries, and HarperCollins limits them.
Needless to say, there is and will be backlash about this Penguin decision. This
reproduces a sign that libraries can get from Google Docs to explain the situation to patrons.
Let’s make this simple: I think restricting library lending is bad for the public, bad for the publisher. I do think an alternative could be found…I’ve mentioned before that I could see the publishers do direct lending on a needs-tested basis, for example.
In the short run, though, this is just not a good thing.
Feel free to comment on this…and to let Penguin USA know what you think:
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.