This blog is in response to a controversy regarding the book publisher Harper Collins and school libraries in 2011. First, I am against lending ebooks to libraries for a preset limited number of times to be “checked out.” It is easier to criticize private companies who sell their products that some may see as unfair. However their are important parameters here that must be established to gain the whole picture of what is going on with ebooks and libraries. Companies are in the business of making profits, therefore we can confidently assume that a publisher like Harper Collins is set out to make money, period. Schools need books for many reasons we know. However one of the problems is that schools are underfunded as it is ( Acedo & Leverkus, 2014). So the aspect of renewing contracts every cycle of these limits could be burdensome. On the other hand the business model of selling books is also morphing and has to innovate to stay relevant in a growing competitive market. Amazon is arguably one of the largest companies on Earth. They certainly do not just sell books. Their business model relies on morphing itself into creating and buying markets.
More importantly I believe that the library itself is reinventing itself. Tangible encyclopedias are all but obsolete. The school library now serves as a center for virtual reality, computer service (lab), “makerspaces” expositions, etc. So in a sense publishers and libraries have entered a paradox, and no one knows how it should look like. In one hand children need books. On the other publishers are the only ones who can gather licenses to later offer the libraries. The debate will not be settled any time soon. In the meantime, luckily schools and publishers continue to offer physical books which can be a compromise. For now.
Acedo, S., & Leverkus, C. (2014). UPDATES ON EBOOKS: Challenges & changes. Knowledge Quest, 43(1), 44-52.