Kindle Library Lending debuted last year, and has shown modest growth, but has a ways to go before it really takes off. The number of libraries that offer the service has grown tremendously, but the selection of books offered has not.
My local library offers access to e-books for the Kindle, Nook, and other electronic devices. But, I rarely find anything I like. If I do, it already has a waiting list a mile long.
One of the biggest barriers to the program is reaction from publishers. The Big 6 are having a hard time relinquishing their books for borrowing because they’re afraid that it will make a big dent in sales.
I read an article earlier today that got me thinking more about this dilemma, and I began to mull over ideas suggested in the article that might help them get over their fears.
E-books are easier to get and transport than regular books. So publishers are afraid that book sales will go the way of music sales did about 10 years ago.
I think with careful handling through licensing, a compromise can be reached. The result would be a benefit for both libraries and publishers. By adding e-books to their collection, libraries can shake their old stereotypes and offer something that is new and exciting.
For publishers, the benefit is the exposure to books that can lead to a purchase. There are people who borrow books from a library, like them a lot, then purchase them to read again.
Another option is to join Amazon Prime and use the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. It has a much broader selection, but you can only check out one a month. I have checked out a lot more books from there than from my library. I am currently waiting very impatiently until the next month to download the third book in the Hunger Games Series on my Kindle.
I think it is important to still get the word out about e-book borrowing in libraries. Increasing the demand for books can’t hurt. Just remember, it is the publishers not the libraries themselves, that are setting the book limits. I hope to see a future where both print and e-books will be readily available to library patrons globally.