Originally Posted by Kumabjorn
Sometimes you guys just make me completely confused. On the one hand you complain that there aren't enough e-books available in libraries and then when a large publisher say they will make their titles available you complain about that. As a comedian would say: "Tough crowd"!
There's more at stake here than "just" making books available to the library patrons. Preservation of books is just as important to a library, and books that "expires" in two years just doesn't make sence to a library. If a researcher comes to the library in fifty years and needs to access a particular edition of a book, there's no guarantee that the book is available. If Macmillan wants to withdraw the book and not sell it any more*, the libraries can not renew their license and all the available editions of this book is lost from the entire system.
Besides it will be a very expencive book if the libraries are going to pay even a small fee every second year for all eternity! The result of such a system is that the older books will disappear from the libraries, and this is a very big paradox for me. E-books actually makes it possible to store a book for all eternity and make it available in libraries long after it's out of print and long after the publisher have lost interest in the book, or banned it and refusing to sell it - what we need is a system that secures the book for the next generations, not a system that duplicates the problem of today with older books disappearing from the libraries, making them hard to get access to, and in some cases impossible to find.
*There are many reasons they might decide to do that - the book might be considered too old-fashioned/too racist/too modern/too bold to allow it in sale, and pull it from their system. Or the book might be sencored and the original edition removed from sale. Or worse, they might do as Disney does. Withdraw the titles from sale for a certain amount of time in order to sell the next edition in higher volumes. Just the thought of all the stupid things these people do makes me cry
Edit: the negotiations between Norwegian publishers and Norwegian libraries just ended in a deadlock over a similar dispute. The libraries refused to accept the publishers terms, and quite rightly so. I'm sad that there won't be ebooks in Norwegian libraries for a long time, but happy that there is still a chance to make a good system out of it in the future instead of settling for a bad system today