HC UK not ruling out e-lending limit

HarperCollins has said it is “not ruling out” implementing the e-book library lending model in the UK its US partner has initiated, which allows library users to borrow its e-books only 26 times.

In a debate on BBC Radio 4's "You and Yours" programme on Friday [11th March], Overdrive’s David Burley, who contacted libraries in the States about HC’s move, said it would “continue to advocate on behalf of libraries” but would also try to “keep the system working” with publishers.

Publishers Association c.e.o. Richard Mollet said a “balance” had to be struck between the concerns of libraries and the profitability of publishers. He pointed out in the same way books “come to the end of their life” and have to be replaced, the HC model ensures the license can be renewed “in my understanding, at a lower rate”.

Phil Bradley, vice-president of CILIP, said HC’s move was a “big concern”. He objected to Mollet’s reasoning, saying it was “patently not the case” that a book would become unusable so quickly, stating a paperback can be “loaned at least 40 times, a hardback more than that”.

Mollet added: “If all consumers could borrow for free whenever they wanted, it would send a rocket through the retail market. It could happen here, it is for individual publishers to make their own deals.”

When asked if it would implement the model in the UK, HarperCollins said in a statement it “[wasn’t] ruling it out”.