Monday, January 16, 2012

From One List to Another

I didn’t waste any time removing my name from the HoCo library waiting list for Nooks. After receiving my very own e-reader for Christmas, my wait for the e-book experience was finally over.

Well sort of anyway. I still haven’t actually read a book on my new Nook yet. Just before Christmas, my sister loaned me “Unbroken” in regular old hardback book form. I’m just finishing it now. My next book will be my first e-book but its not likely to come from the library. As Christian Davenport reports in this story in The Washington Post borrowing an e-book from the library “is often far from the on-demand satisfaction people have come to expect from their laptops, tablets and smartphones.”

“Want to take out the new John Grisham? Get in line. As of Friday morning, 288 people were ahead of you in the Fairfax County Public Library system, waiting for one of 43 copies. You’d be the 268th person waiting for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” with 47 copies. And the Steve Jobs biography? Forget it. The publisher, Simon & Schuster, doesn’t make any of its digital titles available to libraries.”

Book publshers are experiencing the same angst that racked the music industry when computers made sharing music files easy.

“In November, when it announced that it was withholding its new e-books from libraries, Penguin said it has “always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers. However, due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners.”

No doubt this will be resolved over time but, for now at least, public library e-book lending has to seen as a work in progress.
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