I will never understand why the publishing world thinks that allowing digital content and downloads will hurt their business anymore than allowing rentals of physical content does. In some libraries you can check out eBooks just as you do physical books. This makes sense for the library because it can have more copies that of a book without needing more space. It’s better for the reader too because they can get what they want when they want it on their eReader.
Apparently HarperCollins has decided that allowing the library to loan out its eBooks in perpetuity is not a good business decision. The publisher has moved from allowing libraries to license an eBook for all the loaning out it wants to having that book loan agreement expire after a set number of loans.
This is sort of like making the library pay again for that book on the shelf after it has been loaned out for a year. The new agreement with HarperCollins and libraries allows the eBook to be checked out 26 times before the book expires. That would allow for a year’s worth of loans at one every two weeks. Some librarians are calling for a boycott of HarperCollins eBooks.