Itís not that libraries donít want e-books. They canít get enough of them. Literally. And neither can library patrons. The demand for e-books has exploded, partly because Kindles and Nooks and other devices are becoming as ubiquitous as cell phones. Even you grandmother has one.
Want to read the newest bestseller for free on your Kindle? No problem, you say, Iíll just get it from the library. Get in line. The demand for library e-books has exploded, and libraries canít meet the demand. Not because libraries and librarians are refusing to move into the future and are against e-books replacing the stacks. Not at all. It is simply that libraries are having a hard time getting e-books.
How can that be? Especially since all it takes is a swipe and a click to borrow or buy an e-book from Amazon..
Blame it on the publishers.
According to the Washington Post, some publishers, like Penguin, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan have refused to make e-books available to libraries. Others have limited the number of books available. HarperCollins, The Post says, has decided to require libraries to renew e-book licenses after twenty-six checkouts.
Of course libraries are fuming. Some are even refusing to buy books in any form from non-cooperative publishers.
By now youíve probably figured out the reason for all the fuss. Fear of piracy. Itís already cost publishers a bundleótens of millions some say. Publishers, whoíve cooperated with libraries since the day Benjamin Franklin wrote the first charter for a lending library in America, want time to figure out how to resolve the issue.
As a writer and a reader, I can sympathize with both sides. I wonder how Ben would solve the problem.