Libraries Should Lend Out E-Books and Then Offer Patrons Opportunity to Purchase

Have you ever checked out an e-book from a library? It’s really interesting, it comes with specialized software, and the file automatically deletes itself from your computer after so many days. You can only make one copy of the file due to the DRM software, and this protects the library, the author, and the publishing industry. It’s all well and good, but what if the individual checking out the book wants to keep that e-book indefinitely? If so should they be allowed to buy that e-book once they’ve read part of it, or all of it if they wish to?

Should the publishers of that e-book allow them to do so as long as they got a large enough percentage of that e-book sale? I believe so, I think this is a very good business model. controlled digital lendingThat’s why I really appreciated the Kindle Program at Amazon where people could read books because they belong to “Prime” which is a special service for e-book patrons. Now then, there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2013 titled; “Libraries Check Out E-Sales,” by Jennifer Maloney which is definitely worth a read.

What I’m saying is this, before that e-book automatically delete itself, maybe the e-book library patron might get an e-mail notice reminding them that their book will disappear in five days, so they may wish to purchase it, and keep it for good, in which case it would not evaporate from the user’s computer. Imagine if this sale of the e-book were under that cost of a new book at a bookstore by 50%. There is a good chance that 20% of all people receiving the e-mail just prior to the deletion of that digital file would go ahead and buy the e-book.

This money could go towards the multimedia efforts of the local library, and help fund the libraries at a time when most municipalities and County government don’t have the money to keep the doors open with a legitimate set of hours. There’s no reason we need to cut library hours, there are ways that libraries can make money, keep everyone happy, and still keep up with all the services.

Yes, it will take a little bit of negotiation with publishers, and those who hold the rights to these books, but in the end this could work because it is a win-win situation for all involved; the library, the taxpayer, the municipality, the user, and the publishers who are having a tough go of it in the new digital book age. Please consider all this and think on it.