March 16, 2011
eBook Lending Clubs Growing in Popularity with "Twerps"
In E-Book Lending Takes Off, the Wall Street Journal reports on the raising popularity of eBook lending clubs such as BookLending, Lendle and eBook Fling. BookLending, for example, has some 16,000 registered users, and have made a total of nearly 20,000 book loans so far. In his article, Stu Woo reports
The lending sites have drawbacks. One is limited selection. Most major book publishers haven't made their e-books lendable, and the books can be lent only once and for only 14 days. That means that with every successful loan, the sites' available library shrinks unless new users with books to lend join.
Some publishers, which are monitoring the sites closely, say they fear that making books available for loan may deter people from buying physical and digital books.
In Publishers Wary of E-Book Lending 'Twerps', Nicole Ferraro, Executive Editor of Internet Evolution adds:
The fear that people will share digital books and not buy them as much, or that publishers will lose money on digital content, is a somewhat reasonable one. But it's also proven to be counterproductive for other industries -- like the music industry -- where digital has taken over. That's an industry that has been rocked by piracy, and there's no reason to believe this will be different for book publishing.
A new report suggests that the only way to combat privacy is to adjust pricing. I would add that publishers need to be realistic about the age-old practice of book sharing, about the workings of a digital society, and about the fact that by making it difficult for people to buy and enjoy content, they only make it more likely that they'll find other unlawful and unprofitable ways to access it.
That might make those people "twerps," but as we've already learned, they're twerps with a very real ability to damage business.
Hat tip to Legal Research Plus for the Wall Street Journal cite. [JH]
Public libraries purchase licenses to each e-book in its collection just as it does a physical book. Overdrive Inc. is the largest distributor of e-books for libraries. The number of licenses per title determines the number of copies the library can lend at any one time. Thus, a single license permits the library to make only one e-loan at a time. In this way, digital lending is very much like physical lending. The convenience of the Overdrive application or digital book on the user’s e-reader does not change the fact he will have to wait for the title to become available if it has already been lent. Once the loan period has ended, the title locks up, and the user is prompted to delete it. If e-lending sites continue to offer their services free, it is reasonable to worry even more users will gravitate away from libraries. One solution is for public libraries to make its digital lending more user-friendly. To that end, Overdrive is making more e-books available in the EPUB format popular with Apple devices and recoding its site to allow users to display only those books available for lending. (written with the assistance of Katherine Boehret's "New Way to Check Out eBooks," The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2011, retrieved from http://solution.allthingsd.com/20110222/overdrive-new-way-to-check-out-ebooks/)
Posted by: CL | Mar 27, 2011 6:39:38 PM
This blog reminds me of the "Some Thoughts on eBook Licensing Terms for Libraries" blog. eBooks are becoming more and more popular; however so many stipulations are being put on lending sites, as well as libraries. I totally understand wanting to maximize profits, and piracy is prevalent in the digital world. I feel that all of the rules, reguations, and stipulation will have some illegally downloading materials; as it's done everyday. I only hope that publishing companies and host sites can come to mutual, reasonable agreements, that everyone can benefit from,while promoting intellectual freedom... Call me old fashion, but maybe that's why I still love a good old paper book!!!!
Posted by: Dindi R. | Mar 17, 2011 8:06:13 PM