Friday, February 10, 2012

Local libraries and e-books

Okay, remember last month when I talked about my feelings on the Kindle 3 after having one for a year? Well, something has changed since then and now. Something that is worth telling you guys.

My local library started lending e-books. And I love it, for several simple reasons:

  • It's easy. You think pirating books is easy? Well, checking out an e-book is easier and 100% legal. All you do is select the book of your choice, and, if you're using a Kindle, download it through Amazon like any other e-book.
  • You don't have to go to the physical library to check books out. As long as you have a computer and wi-fi access for your e-reader (3G is apparently out for now), you can check out books from anywhere and at anytime your heart desires.
  • As such, you don't necessarily have to live near your library of choice, as long as you have a library card. Maybe your nearest library is over an hour away? Well, it's not a whole lot easier to support it. Maybe you're going on vacation? Well, support your local library from across the world!
  • Your library books expire on their own. That means no more worrying about getting your books back on time and no more overdue book fees.
Of course, several of these things are a bit troublesome for the future of libraries. There's a lot of debate going on about whether libraries should have to pay for multiple e-book licenses, whether they should have to buy new licenses after a certain number of lendings in order to compensate for traditional book "wear and tear," and how they are going to survive without the funds provided by overdue book fees.

I don't have any solutions for these problems, but I can definitely say that I love the convenience of checking out an e-book via my local library. It doesn't seem like a feature that would be going away anytime soon, so I guess I'm curious as to what you guys think.

So how do you feel about the e-book revolution in regards to the traditional library? Should libraries be treating e-books the same way they treat normal book checkouts? And, of course, have you ever checked out an e-book from your local library, or are you still waiting for it to offer the service? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.