Alternative E-Book Lending Models Gaining Ground and Harry Potter Meets Amazon’s Lending Library: Your Weekly Libraries and E-Content News Summary

May 11, 2012
Posted in: News, Uncategorized

The Douglas County Library’s e-book lending model has been gaining some traction and attention. The library system negotiates and buys e-books directly from publishers, and then hosts those books on its own platform. This platform duplicates many of the functions behind the scenes that are used by other e-content “providers” to libraries, including the dominant vendor in this marketplace, OverDrive. The model developed by DCL, which is referred to by some as a sort of OverDrive free OverDrive clone (both adding and lacking some features when compared to OverDrive), is now being considered by other libraries. DCL is partnering with other libraries in Colorado to provide information on how libraries can do what DCL has done. The interest in DCL’s lending model indicates that the current state of library e-book lending is in need of change and even as a partial solution is encouraging in many ways.

Another alternative to the current e-book lending model was presented at the beginning of the month. Bilbary, an e-book distribution platform that currently sells e-books has made a deal with two trade publishers to lend e-books and not just sell them. Founder Tim Coates noted that “All our rentals will be direct to consumer, but when we partner with a library service they may choose to subsidize the cost from their own funds so the rental becomes a free loan to the reader.” Coates mentioned that he has been approached by one of the Big Six publishers wanting to know more about this lending model.

This week Amazon announced that they would be offering the Harry Potter e-books for free through their Kindle lending library (the full announcement can be read at TeleRead). The lending library is only available to those who belong to Amazon Prime. Amazon noted that this was an exclusive deal with Pottermore, and in the same announcement reminded readers of the difficulties that libraries face in providing access to e-books including one book per user limits, and lending time limits.

Finally, a link to an audio discussion with David Pogue (Tech Columnist at the New York Times), Bradley Graham (co-owner of Politics and Prose bookstore), and Lee Rainie (founding director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project) on radio station WAMU. This discussion focuses mainly on e-books and the effect they have on booksellers, but is still worth a listen.

Be sure to check out links to lots of other stories like these that we post on our Twitter feed and Facebook page throughout the week.

Contributing Editor Lindsay Barber writes our weekly e-content news posts each week along with contributions from the Library Renewal Editorial Team (incl. Colin Wilkins, Matt Weaver and Michael Porter).

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