Two minus two is not five, either

The new offline Follett Digital Reader will become available for downloading and installation on customers’ computers on February 9. Users will be alerted and directed to the Follett eBook Web site, for the installation. The new Follett Digital Reader will replace the Adobe technology customers currently use to download and read a Follett eBook.

Instead of using PDF format, which is proprietary but ubiquitous, Follett Digital Resources will force customers to use software that only works on Windows and Mac.  And this comes at a time when Linux is becoming more and more user-friendly, and when schools  are realizing that they can save a lot of money by skipping expensive operating systems and using free ones.

So in response, to “protect publisher content”, Follett is forcing a new proprietary format, even for books that schools thought they had already purchased.  As of March 2nd, your collection will be “transitioned” to the new format, like it or not.

The company claims that this “increas[es] the value of the Follett eBooks in a library’s collection”.  This is strange math.  They’ve taken something that can be used on virtually any platform and made it only available on recent versions of OSX and Windows.  It is difficult to see how this increases the value to the customer.

It clearly increases the value to the publisher, who can now collect money for every usage of the content, and certainly they have the right to do that.  But it would be nice if they could come out and say that rather than pretending that this change is intended to better serve the customers.

Article:  Follett Digital Resources Introduces ”Education-Friendly” eBook Reader.

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