I turn on my comments and look what happens. I get Walt Crawford pointing me to his response to my post regarding Alan Wexelblat’s opinion. I guess that leaves me to attempt to explain my position in a coherent way. Here goes:
My biggest problem with the DRM-based expiration of eAudioBooks, or other digital items for that matter, is who gets to decide when they expire. Walt makes the point that the “library’s paid for the right to have one copy of the audio ebook in use at any one time. How is that different than lending a book?” It’s different because of who has the control. In the case of a physical book, the library invokes the right of first sale, giving them the right to loan it out as they see fit. Yes, the library loans it for a limited period but that’s the library’s choice. Some libraries allow for two weeks, some allow renewals (usually a finite number of times,) while other libraries allow patrons to check out items indefinitely, only to be recalled when requested by another patron (i.e. for a professor or Ph.D. student at a university.)
The problem with these eAudioBooks is that the publisher is imposing their will on the library and, in the end, on the patron. The library has been taken out of the process. Sure, we could decide to challenge this practice by not spending our money on the product, but where does that leave the library and the patron; without the material they’re looking for. Not exactly great customer service.
Ultimately, we’re stuck. The books are restricted by DRM, and don’t work on all devices. (I’m an iPod owner and I’m SOL.) We buy them because they’re the only option and when presented with a take-it-or-leave-it decision, people are going to be more than happy to point out the flaws.