Ebook lending libraries : The future of fiction

Posted by admin on Feb 9, 2010 in books, geekery, news

ebook library of future

Forget thumbing through novels filled with indescribable stains, the library of the future will provide you with germ free digital copies that can be easily read on your e-reader. The library of the future does away with fines and books that smell of toilets and trauma, instead you’ll have pristine digital versions that time out after 30 days. Whether you’re reading these novels on your iPad or your Nook, it doesn’t matter, as the future of eBooks is all about the software and less about the hardware. Sure, you need a screen of suitable size to peruse your novel on, but once you’ve made your initial purchase you’re sorted.

Once books are fully digitized and able to be rented online from public libraries we’ll know the era of the eBook has truly landed. We’re pretty close already, as so far there are three libraries in the UK that run a virtual lending scheme- Luton, Essex and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead with more scheduled to follow suit.

These schemes are by no means perfect as they have a limited selection of books on offer and the search functions could be majorly improved, but compared to sites which only offer free eBooks (those that are out of copyright) these sites are hugely progressive, as are the counties that have funded them.

Lending libraries mainly work by using a system called Overdrive, which has already been very popular in the USA. Perhaps it’s no surprise that eBook libraries are well established there as they have had eReaders for a significantly longer timer than us, with the major player in their market being the Kindle. The Overdrive system allows you to virtually check out books which you can then read on various devices till they ‘time out’, and then you can renew them. The limited selection of authors may have something to do with royalties, but a quick browse was reasonably impressive, with the latest releases from James Patterson, Meg Cabot, and um, Fern Britton on offer. Read more…

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