eBook Library Lending: You're Doing it Wrong

The LA Times recently posted an article about how Penguin has pulled their eBooks from overdrive, meaning they are no longer available to borrow from many libraries (including my own). It seems to me everyone (except maybe the libraries who probably are actually interested in helping people read more digital books) is doing something wrong with library lending.

First, Publishers: why do you force such strict DRM on library eBooks? If I wanted to steal your book (which I don't), I certainly wouldn't be going to the library to do so. I'm going there because it's a simple, legal, and locally supportive thing to do. So don't put restrictive DRM on the item you claim you want me to read that prevents me from putting it on whatever device I want.

In the same way, Amazon: don't be so restrictive on the types of eBooks I can put on my Kindle. It's fully capable of handling ePub books, and the more you get me using the device by allowing it to read anything the more likely I am to buy future books from Amazon.

Amazon: don't require that I have to go to your website to check something out from my library in order to read it on my Kindle. But on that same issue, Publishers: let's not pretend like you are "protecting" me from Amazon by complaining about how borrowing a Kindle book from the library sends me to Amazon to complete the transaction. I already have a Kindle, and I'm used to managing my books there. It's not as though I didn't know the site existed and I'm suddenly going to start buying books there (why is this a bad thing anyway?) just because I spent two seconds there while checking out a library book.

Libraries: keep doing everything you can to help me get books from you, in whatever format you can. You guys are rock stars. What are your thoughts? Have you ever checked out an eBook from the library?


Shannon on 02/22/2013 6:57 p.m.

Until I started using NetGalley, I was getting ebooks from my library pretty frequently. It seems to me that with a product that is so easily pirated, publishers should be doing everything possible to make legal avenues for getting their ebooks as simple as possible. Instead, they're making the process difficult and punishing. It doesn't seem like smart business.

Brian D. Meeks (@ExtremelyAvg)
Brian D. Meeks (@ExtremelyAvg) on 06/11/2013 2:56 p.m.

I've never checked out a book from the library, but I recently had one of my books check out. I found it to be very exciting. Of course, I'm pulling that book off of KDP select in a few weeks, so it may well be the last one, but it was still fun.

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