SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KTIV) -- An unusual stalemate has developed in an unlikely place: the South Sioux City, Nebraska Public Library.
Library director David Mixdorf says it all started about a week ago when publishing giant HarperCollins changed its policy on e-books in libraries.
E-books are digital versions that can be downloaded onto a computer or personal reading device.
HarperCollins now allows just 26 check-outs per e-book, before a library's license expires. When that happens libraries have to buy a new copy. Previously, there was no limit.
South Sioux City is joining many libraries across the county that say they're already financially strapped. South Sioux City has about $20,000 to spend on new material each year and with e-books running $25, the library has decided to no longer purchase HarperCollins e-books.
They are also freezing the purchase of printed books by the publisher.
"We have to kind of draw the line somewhere on our budget. This hits on us pretty hard," said Mixdorf.
HarperCollins says, if left unchanged its policy could have hurt its e-book business as a whole, along with book stores, and lead to lower book sales and royalties paid to authors.
You can check out existing HarperCollins books at the library, but Mixdorf says until something changes, they'll no longer purchase new materials from popular authors like Meg Cabot, Janet Evanovich, and even Sarah Palin.
The South Sioux City library is part of a consortium of 60 libraries within the state of Nebraska that have an e-book sharing agreement. If they purchased three copies of every title, only one person from each library would be able to check out the book.
Librarians predict that could mean longer waits for popular titles, tighter limits on how many times an e-book can be renewed and the possibility that e-books that are not repurchased would be available at the library for only about a year.