Ebook Lending Update

The Library Renewal blog has an awesome summary of all the discussion in recent weeks about library ebook lending, most notably, Bobbi Newman’s suggestion that libraries ought to at least call a hiatus on investing in ebooks until there’s a better model in place.

I’m tempted to agree with her. I’m wary of libraries’ handing over large amounts of their budgets to digital distributors like Overdrive when there’s little guarantee that whatever content they’re purchasing (or more accurately, licensing under very limited conditions) will be there in the long run.

Until there’s legislation or a court decision affirming something like first sale doctrine for digital content, it seems like libraries are engaging in very expensive experiment. I honestly hope it works out, but in the meantime, I think caution is warranted, and perhaps a seriously consideration of something like what Andy Woodworth outlines in his blog post Alternative Uses for the Pesky eBook Budget

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