HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, has decided to make e-books that they loan to libraries self-destruct after they are loaned out to patrons 26 times:
HarperCollins is committed to the library channel. We believe this change balances the value libraries get from our titles with the need to protect our authors and ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come."
Josh Marwell, President, Sales for HarperCollins, told [Library Journal] that the 26 circulation limit was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.
This is twenty-eight flavors of wrong. This is an all-you-can-eat buffet of badness. Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing puts it best, of course:
No matter how crappy a library's relationship with a print publisher might be, the publisher couldn't force them to destroy the books in their collections after 26 checkouts.