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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ebooks From the Library?


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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17 comments:

  1. Our library is close too, just under 2 miles. Though our library is limited with the ebooks they carry. They also carry Nooks for checkout each loaded with a variety from each genre.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I love the Nook idea!!! I wonder if they have a hard time getting people to bring them back though?

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    2. No, they don't. Unless you want to pay the $250 fine. It's a nice contract you have to sign.

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  2. My library does have this option but they don't have many titles available. I think this is a great option.

    Publishers seems to be using ebooks as a way to reel in their restrictions and higher their profits. How is ebook lending, any different from library lending? I think it should be the same.

    I also have issues with publishers restricting coupons for ebooks. If I was given a coupon instore, it wouldn't be restricted by publisher. Ebook coupons are very restricted.

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    1. I didn't know about the ebook coupon issue. I don't really buy a lot of ebooks and if I do, they're always the ones that are on sale!

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  3. This is a really interesting argument. I think it makes sense for the publishers to have issues with that. I, personally, enjoy the library as well but with my schedule it is hard to get there sometimes. And even though I live in a fairly metropolitan area, even the 10-15 extra minutes can seem too much for me to go to the library so e-books from the library would be sooo awesome! My library does offer some but, of course, the selection is really limited.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My library's selection actually seems to be really, really good; especially for newer books.

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  4. My library recently got eBooks too and even the option to check out a Nook to read on. I haven't done it yet but I can see the use of libraries carrying eBooks. It's going to be interesting to see what happens. Both publishers and libraries are trying to stay relevant and in business by adopting eBooks. If carrying eBooks helps libraries, then I'm all for it! I love my library and wouldn't be able to read as much as I do if it weren't for the library.

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    1. I would be totally broke if I didn't have access to the library :P

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  5. Personally I hate that eBooks are restricted from libraries. I have a great library that has everything yet I can't get any dang eBooks that I want. They NEVER have new releases, and it's not their fault. In fact recently they were sending out messages to members trying to get them to write their senators. It is just a sad situation!

    Angie
    Angela's Anxious Life

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm lucky in that my library actually has a lot of new releases. There may be a long wait but they do have them at least!

      This economy seems to have been especially bad for all of the poor libraries :/

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  6. The having the libraries rebuy ebooks in theory seems a reasonable plan, but the rate that the publishers were trying to use (in an article I read last year) did not seem comparable for a library replacing their printed copies.

    I belong to three library systems that use Overdrive, two specifically to use Overdrive. My local city library system (closest branch is probably almost 5 miles away) has a limited selection, which frequently doesn't have titles I want to read. They also cancelled their membership in the free to use ILL program here in California; you now have to pay $2 for a librarian to try and get it someplace. My county system is closer, has a better selection (works with a neighboring county system, and some university libraries), and they use Overdrive too. I get a lot of the new release books through Overdrive- usually Los Angeles County, since they update their selection regularly. I can find titles there that neither my city or county caries, including printed copies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use Overdrive and really like it.

      Yeah, I do think that having a library have to re-buy an ebook after 15-20 uses is a little excessive. I kind of wonder how many uses libraries get on average before they have to be replaced...

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  7. Publishers don't like ebook lending because it's too easy and convenient for users (too similar to how we purchase ebooks), so they are scared that more and more people will forgo buying in favor of borrowing.

    Several publishers right now aren't selling ebooks to libraries at all, so I'm not as annoyed at the whole 26 copies and rebuy the book as I would be otherwise.

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    1. I can see the concern but I would argue to the publishers that a lot of people still really enjoy reading physical books and prefer that over reading an ebook (I'm one person in that camp). Publishers will still continue to make money in the future!

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  8. When I lived in England and Ireland I borrowed ebooks from my Swedish library, because I couldn't readily get Swedish books there. Since I've moved back I hardly ever borrow ebooks, as I prefer the psysical book. However, our library did put a ban on ebooks for the month of March because they had exceeded their cost for the year (they count from April-April). A lot of people started complaining and they had to explain the issue with cost. Also, we're restricted to 3 ebooks per week now (it used to be 7), so they're trying to cut the costs as much as possible without it effecting us customers too much. It wouldn't surprise me if it went down to 1 ebook per week.

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    Replies
    1. I think right now, our library allows 10 electronic items (combo of ebooks and audiobooks) to be checked out at a time. It's not too bad!

      Delete

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