Archive for January, 2010

Freedom to read is so 20th century

January 30, 2010

Librarians for Fair Access resists exclusive content contracts Boing Boing

What changed? EBSCO responds, in Library Journal “In many cases, an exclusive relationship is the only way you can have the content in your databases.” They were the top bidder in an RFP but out by Major Magazines who felt that they were losing revenue because too many people read their magazines in the library for free.

Note, btw, that the “free” in the quote above means purely that the patrons didn’t pay on a per-view basis. They pay taxes and other fees to support their local libraries, the libraries pay the database companies, the database companies pay the magazines. But apparently not enough.

And the obvious way to increase payments is by having a monopoly. If you must have some particular set of magazines available for your patrons, then you have to pay what the database company tells you to pay. For that companies that have magazines on the most-wanted list, it’s a sweet deal. For everyone else, not so much, because the library budget for this kind of stuff isn’t exactly growing.

And ultimately that means the list of most-wanted magazines gets pared down; everybody loses. But the golden parachutes and the consulting fees will have been paid by then.