28 February 2011

HarperCollins and the ebook debacle

I'm not going to attempt to recap the ebook debacle that's been going on because of HarperCollins...Instead I'm going to point to a few great posts and then offer up my thoughts on the thing.  

I've seen a number of folks post that librarians, authors and readers should be outraged and make this known to the publisher.  And I agree...there's just one problem with that statement.  How many of our users understand what's going on?  How well are we communicating why these things happen with our users? 

I'm an academic librarian so my view is a bit different, but even in the academic world where we discuss budget issues and what things cost...our users still don't really understand why things work the way they do.  They get frustrated that they can't print off the entire ebook, or pages easily, or have more than one person view it at a time, or why they can't read it on the device they own.  Saying its a limit of the vendor really doesn't mean much to them.  They can't see the vendor, they don't talk to the vendor and they don't understand the discussions we have with vendors to get these rights.  All they see is us and so we take the blame.  I can only being to guess at the number of users that don't come back to us because of this.  So what do we do? 

I agree that we need to stand up to the vendors, but more than that we need to inform our users.  In terms they understand and get them behind us, to stand up with us so that we aren't fighting this battle alone.  We all need to be in this together.

1 comment:

Beth said...

As educators/librarians you are right, we need to educate our customers/users/patrons about this. I think we don't always do a good job of that (educating the end user about the process). So educate the customer base and encourage them to fight for their rights as well. Email HarperCollins - library.ebook@harpercollins.com and tell them just how you feel.