Penguin suspends library ebooks, cites security reasons

UPDATE: 11/23/11 @ 9:39 am: Penguin Group (USA) has restored access to our current ebook titles to Kindle users. Access to new titles remains suspended.

11/22/11: One of the six largest publishing companies in the country, Penguin Group, announced yesterday it is suspending ebook lending through libraries and won’t allow libraries to loan ebooks for the Amazon Kindle.

“We have always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers,” the publisher announced in a statement Monday. “However, due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners.”

No specific security reasons were stated.

Currently, there is only one major publisher working with libraries through OverDrive, the system used by the Cedar Rapids Public Library and the countries top library ebook supplier. HarperCollins allows lending but has restrictions on usage requiring libraries to re-purchase a title once it has been downloaded 26 times.

Ebooks are becoming increasingly popular. The Cedar Rapids Public Library itself saw a 500% increase in the use of ebooks in 2011 and anticipates another large increase in volume after the holidays.

What does this change mean to you as a library user? It means fewer titles available from your library. It means additional limitations on what libraries can provide to users.

Let us know your thoughts.

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