Open Letter to Cory Doctorow
In your post about the HarperCollins situation you wrote this:
And that's why libraries should just stop buying DRM media for their collections. Period. It's unsafe at any speed.
I mean it. When HarperCollins backs down and says, "Oh, no, sorry, we didn't mean it, you can have unlimited ebook checkouts," the libraries' answers should be "Not good enough. We want DRM-free or nothing." Stop buying DRM ebooks. Do you think that if you buy twice, or three times, or ten times as many crippled books that you'll get more negotiating leverage with which to overcome abusive crap like this? Do you think that if more of your patrons come to rely on you for ebooks for their devices, that DRM vendors won't notice that your relevance is tied to their product and tighten the screws?
There is a point I think you are missing. Many librarians do not just want DRM free books. They want to OWN the book you sell them. When they OWN the book they can sell the copy they bought or give it to someone else. For one of your books why not go beyond the Creative Commons license and create an ebook version that when sold is the equivalent of a print book? If someone buys one copy of the ebook they should have the right to sell one copy of the ebook. If they sell their copy they should not have a copy after the sale. This would require them to delete the copy they have, once they have made a sale and transferred a copy to another individual. This new purchaser would then OWN the copy of the book and could also sell their copy.
I think it would be an interesting experiment to see what it actually means to have first sale rights in an ebook.