Penguin Drops Bombshell on Librarians: Bans Lending of New Ebook Titles

Posted on November 21, 2011

Library Journal reports that Penguin Group USA will no longer allow library lending of ebook titles. Penguin cited unnamed security concerns for the new policy.

Penguin issued this statement:

Penguin has been a long-time supporter of libraries with both physical and digital editions of our books. We have always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers. However, due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners.
Today, Overdrive posted this statement:
Last week Penguin sent notice to OverDrive that it is reviewing terms for library lending of their eBooks. In the interim, OverDrive was instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable "Get for Kindle" functionality for all Penguin eBooks. We apologize for this abrupt change in terms from this supplier. We are actively working with Penguin on this issue and are hopeful Penguin will agree to restore access to their new titles and Kindle availability as soon as possible.
No one knows what digital security issues are causing Penguin concern. There is a lot of speculation today that this is really about the major publishers' unhappiness with Amazon.com's new digital lending library, and that citing "security concerns" may be a way to stop digital lending that the publishers don't like.

Library Journal reports that librarians and library patrons are very upset with this decision. It notes that the Brooklyn Public Library alone has seen its ebook lending offerings decrease by 1000 titles since the announcement.