I posted a few days ago about my worries that publisher unwillingness to allow library ebook lending (made possible by the fact that publishers have more legal right to block such activities than with print) imperils the future of public lending libraries.
I worry that there isn’t enough patron education on this issue. Patrons need to know that it’s publishers standing in the way, not library traditionalism or incompetence (well, there might be some of that too).
I was heartened to see a popular press article highlighting publisher resistance to library ebook lending, and the barriers publishers put in place. I hope this starts getting more coverage (and wish the ALA’s advocacy and popular education wings would work on it; what’s the ALA for, anyway?)
And in a very related topic, an Amazon press release (blogged and analyzed here) suggests that making a title available through the Kindle lending program increases ebook sales for that title compared to if it were not available for lending, as well as resulting in royalties from Amazon’s library program. Perhaps the publishers don’t need to be scared of library lending?
Of course, Amazon (as well as perhaps the publishers), would like to see an Amazon-controlled platform take control with no intermediation by pesky non-profit public libraries. And with a new per-use royalty payment model. (which the US First Sale Doctrine makes unenforceable for print, but not ebooks). Remember, not-for-profit libraries (public, academic, and sometimes special use) are pretty much the only institutions in the publishing chain/universe, whose only interest is the benefit of their patrons/customers, rather than squeezing as much profit as possible out of their customers.