Thursday, October 15, 2009

One at a Time, Please

More about digital books in libraries. The article mentions a girl in Florida who uses her library card to download books to her laptop. I approve of her selection of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams (and I forgot Towel Day again this year), though I find Laurell K. Hamilton trashy. I figure being able to pick up a copy of anything Laurell K. Hamilton writes without setting foot in public place would probably be helpful. Now only the internet is judging her and not her local librarian.

But here's a weird bit:

Most digital books in libraries are treated like printed ones: only one borrower can check out an e-book at a time, and for popular titles, patrons must wait in line just as they do for physical books. After two to three weeks, the e-book automatically expires from a reader’s account.

One at a time? Really? But... why? It's not as though it's limited by only having so many physical copies. Is that a move to appease book sellers?

Speaking of book sellers, some have decided not to offer their books in digital format to libraries, with the argument that 'soon everything will be free'.

And as for physical libraries becoming obsolete, here is some hope:

For now, the advent of e-book borrowing has not threatened physical libraries by siphoning away visitors because the recession has driven so many new users seeking free resources through library doors.

Though they also mention that most people don't know the digital collection even exists. I wonder if my local libraries have any.


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