Electronic Books are adding a new wrinkle to the library business and libraries are having a tough time keeping up, says the Vancouver Sun’s Janet Steffenhagen:
The book-lending business at public libraries used to be a simple affair: Buy books, catalogue them, loan them out and keep them in good repair. But that’s all changing with the soaring popularity of ebooks.According to Steffenhagen, libraries are increasingly offering e-books and, in some cases, making e-readers available to their patrons. Despite confusion from the book industry and roadblocks from some publishers, the demand for e-books from library patrons is growing rapidly.
About 1,800 cardholders with the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) now borrow ebooks, and last month they registered a total of 3,000 such checkouts, said Christina de Castell, the VPL’s manager of online information and news. While that’s only a tiny fraction of the library’s print circulation, it’s been growing by about 20 per cent each month this year.Steffenhagen looks at how one region is dealing with the challenges here.