The rise of the e-book lending library (and the death of e-book pirating) – The Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail Update
Published Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 4:00PM EST
Last updated Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 9:04AM EST
The last thing Catherine MacDonald did before going to bed the night of Dec. 30 was to ask her husband to remind her to start a Facebook page the next morning about something she just seen on her Kindle e-reader: Amazon.com’s decision to allow e-book buyers to lend out and borrow certain titles among themselves. Hooked on her newly acquired Kindle, the Malta-based Canadian business consultant and mother of three thought e-book lending was a terrific idea. She set up the page “just to see if this is something a lot of other people want.”
The pic above started to remind me of comic in the comic of the Watchmen graphic novel; Tales of the Black Freighter. (Yes, there is a connection.)
Marooned chronicles a castaway’s increasingly desperate attempts to return home to warn his family of the impending arrival of the Black Freighter, a phantom pirate ship which houses the souls of the damned. To escape the deserted island he uses the gas-bloated bodies of his former crewmates to float a raft, fending off sharks en route; to infiltrate the (supposedly) pirate-controlled Davidstown, he murders a trusting couple and returns dressed in the man’s clothing; to save his family he attacks a night watchman who is patrolling the house. However, this watchman is actually his wife, and he soon realizes that there has been no attack and his efforts have only brought about his own destruction. The man returns to the beach to see the Black Freighter approaching, ready to claim the only life it truly desired – his. He boards eagerly.
Yesterday, I wrote about the problems with DRM. In the article above mentions the ways people have started an ebook lending club. The folks at Kindle had recently updated their software to allow of such lending practices which is giving DRM some flexibility to the end users. This falls in line with the paper counterpart books clubs. Did we hear publishers complain about the loss of revenue? So why would the same material albeit in a different format be treated as such? Much like the main character from Tales, the publishers are working on the same fear concept off an attack. Wake up, publishers! There is no attack.
Further in the article, I found this interesting comment:
Not all publishers are assured, including Macmillan U.S., whose president Brian Napack recently defended his company’s go-slow policy at a conference in New York. “The fear is I get one library card and never have to buy a book again,” he said. “So we are hard at work. We continue to wrestle with it.”
Now tell me the truth, does your library own everything you’ll ever need? No. No library will ever have everything that you could possible need when you need it. I will say that back in the early 90’s bookstore like B&N and Borders were on the rise and libraries were losing patrons because the library had outdated materials. Having said this, those bookstores became their destination and not necessarily to buy books. They went there because of the environment, events, cafes or simply as a social gathering destination. Libraries did have to compete to attract those patrons back with cafes, dvd rentals, and wifi. Both of these book destinations could always live in harmony both with each other and still serve the end-user; you.
Simply put, not every book I buy at the bookstore may is something I want to keep and yet, not every book I check out of the library is something I would want to buy; this is a ying yang effect. Let us argue that you loved a book you checked out of the library. You can’t buy it at the library; you go to the bookstore. On the reverse, you bought a book at the bookstore and it sucked for whatever reason. Rather than just keeping it, why not donate it to the library. Does this make sense? Why can’t this be applied with ebooks?
A thought had occurred to me, with the current demands on ebooks, it will be a matter of time before it will ultimate become public domain. I’m willing to wait it out until publishers realize that the fear is unfounded.