Tell HarperCollins: Limited Checkouts on eBooks is Wrong for Libraries
  • Petitioned Brian Murray

This petition was delivered to:

Brian Murray
Josh Marwell
Library eBook

Tell HarperCollins: Limited Checkouts on eBooks is Wrong for Libraries

    1. Andy Woodworth
    2. Petition by

      Andy Woodworth

      Maple Shade NJ, NJ


On March 7, 2011, the publisher HarperCollins instituted an expiration policy on eBooks that are licensed to libraries. Under this new arrangement, eBooks would "self-destruct" after being checked out 26 times. This would require libraries to re-purchase the eBook if they wanted to continue to make it available. Libraries across the country are boycotting future purchases of HarperCollins eBooks, but our voices alone will not change their policy. We need your help.

As Cory Doctorow wrote, "the durability of eBook is a feature, not a bug." To place a cap on the circulation of eBooks in order to "simulate" the wear and tear of a physical book is not only insulting to readers, but this video shows how easily it can be proven wrong with physical books.

The significant advantage of eBooks for libraries is that it allows people to borrow books from home and read them on their computer or ereader. When the book is due to be “returned” to the library, the file is rendered inert and the next library user can check out the eBook. Limiting a book to 26 total checkouts means that it could be there one day and gone the next, leaving that 27th borrower in limbo as the library assesses whether to re-purchase the eBook. If left in place, this policy would threaten public access to eBooks by making them disappear from the virtual shelf.

Please join us in voicing your opposition to this policy of self-destructing eBooks.

To see if libraries are still boycotting HarperCollins, you can visit the website Boycott HarperCollins


Recent signatures


    1. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Petition featured by eSchoolNews:

    2. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      The Philadelphia Inquirer features Andy Woodworth and this petition:

    3. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Another library announces it will not purchase HarperCollins ebooks:

    4. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      The Chronicle of Higher Education covers the petition

    5. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      The Lincoln Journal-Star covers this petition:

    6. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Joan Winslow, author of "Romance Is a Riot" (published by Dell) signed the petition and added: "[I] urge you to have pity of libraries who are strapped to the limit for funds these day, requiring erratic, fewer hours."

    7. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Author Marilyn Johnson clarifies her stance on HarperCollins:

    8. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      From MediaBistro: Authors Sign Petition Against HarperCollins Library eBook Policies

    9. Best-Selling Authors Criticize HarperCollins E-Book Policy

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Asked in February what he thought of HarperCollins' decision to cash in on libraries by selling them "self-destructing" e-books, literary superstar Neil Gaiman tweeted back in just five words: "I think it's incredibly disappointing."

    10. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      From the Christian Science Monitor: Kindle users can borrow library e-books -- is that a good thing?

    11. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Best-selling author Marilyn Johnson explains why she's against HarperCollins' new policy:

    12. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Librarian Andy Woodworth - creator of this petition - brainstorms solutions to the HarperCollins petition on his blog today:

    13. 60,000+ Book Lovers Agree: Don't Make E-Books Self Destruct

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Do you have a copy of a book that's nearly falling apart because it's been read so many times? Dog-eared corners, bent binding, coffee-stains and wrinkled pages - all signs that it's a book that's been well-loved and repeatedly read.
      But imagine if...

    14. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      From the Library Journal: Petition Protesting HarperCollins's Ebook Circulation Policy Takes Off

    15. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Global art blog covers the petition (link is in French):

    16. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Popular publishing blog GalleyCat has just covered the petition

    17. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      From author and member Judith McQuown: "As a former HarperCollins author, I am disgusted, but not suprised. NewsCorp is interested in money, NOT the joy and pleasure of reading."

    18. Reached 50 signatures
    19. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      From member Roger Buffett: "Electronic book burning? Perish the thought. Please."

    20. Reached 30 signatures
    21. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Tweet from the San Rafael Public Library in CA: Marin IJ editorial cartoon featuring our decision not to purchase HarperCollins eBooks due to their restrictive policy:

    22. Reached 15 signatures
    23. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Librarian and blogger Sarah Houghton-Jan Tweets @TheLiB: 10,000 signatures for the "Tell HarperCollins: Limited Checkouts on eBooks is Wrong for Libraries" petition! #hcod

    24. Reached 12 signatures
    25. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      The Northwestern of Wisc: Libraries flooded by demands for e-books


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