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HarperCollins vs. The Librarians

May 4th, 2011 · No Comments · Book Geek, Library Politics

A few friends sent this one along; thought I’d share.

– Ms. Nancy

By day, Andy Woodworth is a mild-mannered librarian. By night, he’s still a librarian, just less mild-mannered.

Andy is kind of famous in the librarian community, mostly for getting the Old Spice guy to do a video about how great libraries are, and unsuccessfully campaigning to get Ben & Jerry’s to create a flavor called the “Gooey Decimal System.” (If you don’t get the pun, just ask someone ten years older.)

Oh, and now he’s using Change.org to help lead the charge in a fight against NewsCorp, one of the world’s most powerful companies.

See, more and more libraries are beginning to buy e-books, like those read on a Kindle or similar device. They’re programmed to be like normal books — lent out to one reader at a time, returned, and downloaded by another reader. It’s simple, and especially great for working parents or the disabled who have a hard time making it to a library.

But publishing giant HarperCollins (owned by NewsCorp) is trying to force libraries to only buy e-books that literally self-destruct after the 26th reader in an attempt to maximize profits.

Having to repeatedly buy the same book will be a financial and logistical disaster for libraries, one that could force a few to close their doors.

Even worse, there are signs that other publishing companies may soon follow the lead of HarperCollins, which could devastate libraries all around the world.

Some amazing librarians have launched a full boycott of HarperCollins until the decision is reversed, but they urgently need widespread support to force NewsCorp to back down.

Andy’s petition demanding an end to self-destructing e-books has a goal of 100,000 signatures. Click here to add your name now.

Andy declares on his blog that “The world needs more badass librarians.” It’s true, though right now the world also needs more readers who will stand alongside them.

Thanks for doing your part,

Patrick and the Change.org team