Last night, I finished reading Patti Smith’s wonderful memoir about her years with the artist, Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids. I’ve been reading it for the past week on an iPad on loan from work. The copy of book was courtesy of the New York Public Library’s subscription to OverDrive. In light of my post yesterday in which I expressed my frustration with HarperCollins’ newly announced policy that ebooks borrowed 26 times from a library’s OverDrive service will evaporate from that library’s ebook collection, it was most distressing to me to realize as I got to the last page of the book last night that what I had been reading and enjoying on my iPad for the past week was a HarperCollins ebook on OverDrive. My checkout of the book, courtesy of the always amazing New York Public Library, was one of the 26 that the library has been allotted for that title.
With each checkout in OverDrive, that fantastic book is one step closer to being erased from the library’s ebook collection. My pleasurable reading is now tinged with guilt (yes, there is a repressed Calvinist in me frequently strugging to ruin my enjoyment of anything fun in life). Still, as a librarian patron I shouldn’t have to feel this way, and I shouldn’t feel compelled (as I do now) to go make a small donation to NYPL earmarked for acquisitions. (I did in fact give them money this morning for that very reason).
Update (11:35 am, 2 March 2011): It was pointed out to me that the 26 circ and its gone policy is not a retroactive policy and will only affect titles purchased going forward. Details on this PDF of the letter that OverDrive CEO, Steve Potash, sent out last week.