The Secret is Out

The New York Times reports that libraries are offering downloadable eBooks and audio. The shocker: users can get them for free!

The NYT explains libraries’ motivation this way,

Eager to attract digitally savvy patrons and capitalize on the growing popularity of electronic readers, public libraries across the country are expanding collections of books that reside on servers rather than shelves.

The idea is to capture borrowers who might not otherwise use the library, as well as to give existing customers the opportunity to try new formats.

Quoted are two major publishers that do no allow their books and audios to be downloaded, Macmillan (which includes St. Martins, Holt, FSG) and Simon & Schuster. John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, says he is afraid that library lending will lead to people “not paying for anything.”

On the other hand, Harlequin believes that library eBook borrowers turn into purchasers.

3 Responses to “The Secret is Out”

  1. marin younker Says:

    oh Macmillan, what a lack of vision. it’s no wonder that Harlequin is profiting in a time when most publishers are struggling.

  2. Kristine Millard Says:

    Libraries have been in existence for many, many years. Publishers have not lost sales. In fact, check outs of online books in libraries work much the same way as print copies. There are a limited number of copies available. Once some one “checks out” an online book, everyone else must wait until it is “returned.” The advantage to librarians is that there are never overdue fines. If the user doesn’t “return” the item, the file becomes inactive and the “copy” is available for the next user. Users who cannot wait will still purchase copies.

  3. Bookish Jen Says:

    It took the NYT this long to break this shocking news? Seriously? *yawns*

    Maybe if they had discovered this fact a few years ago, people would have been flocking to these cathedrals of learning long before the economic downturn. Might have saved several libraries and their budgets from being slashed. Public interest and high usage = more funding and less closures.