Where would our national libraries be without stack after massive, mouldering stack of books? Based on what we're seeing in the UK, they could be doing pretty well. Certain libraries there have started giving out e-book downloads in lieu of real book rentals. The temporary e-books are deleted after 14 days and, due to their digital nature, are never out of stock or on a waiting list.
For the first time in years, many of these UK libraries are seeing increases in subscriptions again. People are actually getting excited about going to the library again, and it isn't hard to see why. Fourteen days is long enough for most people to read a book, and e-books remove all of the negative limitations normal library rentals have. You'll never find an e-book with a weird stain or have to wait six months to check out a popular title because there's a waiting list.
Engadget states that the library e-book downloads are currently only available on the Sony Reader, the iRex iLiad, and the Barnes & Noble nook. The Kindle isn't eligible, yet another sign that Amazon needs to step up their game.
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