You will by now be aware, I'm sure, that HarperCollins have decided to try and play and price libraries out of the eBook game. They have decided that libraries will only be able to loan one of their eBooks 26 times before it implodes on itself like a Mission Impossible cassette tape. They also reserve the right to check library records to ensure that books are only being lent to appropriate members of the library. (Which I imagine is against a fair number of privacy laws.)
I simply cannot begin to describe what a stupid, backward looking and retrograde step I think this is. It is a direct attack on a library's users, making it difficult for them to borrow electronic books that they might otherwise be unable to read. Worse than that, it is going to make libraries think twice about purchasing eBooks in the future if publishers think that they can just change the rules whenever they feel like it.
This is a stupid decision because this will not stop eBook adoption - libraries are not leading in this area, they're following. eBooks are simply the result of a move to electronic material - music has gone that way, films are going, and this is going to be the last holdout. Moreover, if users can't see their titles it's going to make them borrow less, not more, and buy less, not more. It's already not difficult to pirate books, and making it harder to lend them isn't going to make this process happen any less.
What libraries and librarians can do about this is of course another matter. In my opinion, any eBook that isn't DRM free shouldn't be purchased. Now, the problem with that approach is that we're cutting off our noses to spite our users faces. They want access to this type of material, and we should be able to give it to them. Particularly at the time that we're trying to justify our existence, and reach out to larger groups than we've ever been able to do before. I don't see a sensible alternative - if we bend over backwards publishers will not thank us, they'll just take more and more. I think this is simply another battle that we'll have to fight really.
If you want to follow this on Twitter, the hashtag is #hcod and my favourite Militant Librarian post about this fiasco is from Sarah, the Librarian in Black, entitled Library eBook Revolution, Begin. It's a must read piece.
Edited to add: I'd like to make it perfectly clear that this is my PERSONAL view and opinion, and not that of CILIP. The Guardian used a quote without reference back to me or checking at all. Anything that I write in my blog is always my personal view, which is why it's on my blog and not on the CILIP website.