BORDENTOWN, NJ (CBS) – A librarian-blogger has begun a petition campaign to try to get a major publisher to reverse a decision to restrict library e-books to be circulated 26 times before they have to be re-purchased.

Andy Woodworth, an employee of the Bordentown Library, stresses that he’s not speaking for his employers in this effort at but says the move by HarperCollins will put the squeeze on libraries at a time of tight funding.

After all, he says, a regular book can be loaned indefinitely, “A regular book is controlled by the doctrine of first sale which means that once we buy it we own it and we can do what we want with it. With e-books, they are currently lent under licensing models so that they are subject to a lot more restrictions than the printed book.”

But they’re also invulnerable. HarperCollins says printed books wear out and have to be bought again. The publisher contends 26 lendings is up to a year’s use, and the re-purchase price will probably be lower.

If the re-purchase idea spreads, Woodworth says it will put cash-strapped libraries in more of a bind, “What we’re hoping for with the petition is that publishers like HarperCollins consider other e-book lending models that are more permissive, that use the file format, to use that to its advantage to reach a wider audience much faster than a printed book would ever reach them.”

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060

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