Ebooks have been available in libraries in the US for a while now, and while some people can’t understand how something you can make copies of needs lending out and be returned, it isn’t a bad way to use an ebook reader. As with what seems to be all companies out there though, the publishers of the ebooks have been concerned about DRM, lost revenue, piracy, impending Reaper invasions, and all that stuff. Some publishers have withdrawn completely from the service, and now Random House – one of the biggest publishers out there – has decided to triple the price the library has to pay for the books.
It goes without saying that this is going to severely limit the selection and quantity of ebook licenses that each library ends up buying, especially when it comes to smaller libraries. The entire library concept is naturally on a decline with a $80 Kindle now serving the same purpose as an entire library if you have the money to pay for the books, and things like this isn’t going to help that. What’s more, it’s likely going to hinder adoption of ebook readers and tablets as well, if traditional paper books get back an advantage they’ve been losing. Then again, most of the world don’t have any such service available yet.