Beyond Planned Obsolescence

Brief blog followup to yesterday’s post about publisher HarperCollins decision to force public libraries to re-license ebooks after just 26 checkouts.   A fellow GoodReader posted a link to this open letter from the Pioneer Library System of Norman, Oklahoma to HarperCollins in our discussion topic ‘Ashes of eBooks for Libraries‘ .

Excerpts from the open letter:

Because the publisher assumes digital resources never deteriorate, they have set an arbitrary limit to the number of times an electronic resource can be accessed. Not planned obsolescence. Forced obsolescence. (emphasis added)

Despite statements to the New York Times that  HarperCollins hopes this move will, “ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come,” it may, in fact, do just the opposite(emphasis added)

If you would like to contact HarperCollins directly they have set up an email address at

Another link posted by a different GoodReader offered some background as to why the publishing industry executives are reacting so poorly to change:  Twelve Common Misconceptions about Book Publishing.

And what’s the next step beyond forced obsolescence at public libraries?  How many times will you be allowed to read your ebook before it is removed or held hostage on your virtual bookshelf until you negotiate a ransom by re-buying the content?

5 thoughts on “Beyond Planned Obsolescence”

  1. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running
    off the screen in Internet explorer. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Many thanks

    1. When I view this post using IE 8, I have no trouble with the formatting. However, I do not voluntarily use Microsoft applications, so I focus on a look and feel for FireFox. I also can’t control what other people use for screen resolutions or text zoom sizes.

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