Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Debate over E-Books in Libraries

With the technology boom reaching nearly every aspect of our lives it is not surprising to see digitalized books known as e-books in Libraries. Over the years libraries has provided readers like you and me with shelves of books which we could borrow at our own leisure. Now these shelves will be replaced with a database where avid readers could download full novels for free. Despite the conveniences that e-books in libraries would bring, it has been the source of new debate in the publishing world.

Traditionally, libraries would reach an agreement with publishers where once the e-book is purchased the library is free to distribute an unlimited number of times. Recently, publishers have been feeling uneasy regarding this policy and HarperCollins Publishers proposes to enforce stricter enforcements which would require books be checked out only 26 times before they expire. This proposal has been the source of much uproar within the library community. Anne Silvers Lee, chief of materials management division of the Free Library of Philadelphia states, “We want e-books in our collection, our customers are telling us they want e-books, so I want to be able to get e-books from all the publishers. I also need to do it in a way that is not going to be exorbitantly expensive.”

As an avid borrower of library books I cannot help but side with the library in this situation. Libraries receive minimal funding despite being a great resource of people of all ages. This new policy on e-books enacted on publishers will do little to help the situation libraries go through with trying to keep afloat for their communities.

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