This morning, I read a really good article about ebook lending from the library on InReads. It definitely made me think a little bit. I'm relatively new to checking out ebooks from the library but I think it's really a neat concept. One reason that I haven't delved into checking out ebooks too much is that I really, really enjoy going to the library. I currently live about a mile away from the nearest library so I can take a nice, leisurely walk, pick out some really good books, and walk home. I've never found having to go to the library to be an inconvenience.
If you're reading this blog, you're probably a book lover too and so I'm sure you all feel the same way too. But every once in awhile, when I need a new book and I can't get to the library right away, it's nice to have the ebook lending option. As the InReads article points out, publishers may not be too happy with this option for several reasons; the largest reason having to do with a loss of revenue. While I think book costs are too high, I do understand that publishers are first and foremost businesses and in order to stay in business, you have to make money. Some publishers have even restricted ebook lending totally (for shame).
I just don't see how ebook lending from the library is going to make all that big of impact on the publishers' bottom lines. If I didn't use the library, I would be broke with as much as I read. The last time I bought a book without using a gift certificate was probably at least 6 months ago. I know a lot of other people though who, when they want a book, go to the bookstore and browse and buy rather than locating a book at their local library for free. I am not sure that limiting or opening ebook lending from the library would do much to change those people's habits.
I guess one of the best solutions that some publishers have adopted is to force a library to re-buy an ebook after a certain number of check-outs. It isn't ideal for readers or for libraries (which have obviously been affected by budget cuts) but I guess it does help the publishers and it may open up more publishers to trying the ebook lending option.
What say you?
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