Some people will lead you to believe that the “dead tree edition” of books is a dying breed. That may be partly true, but not everyone wants to buy all of their e-books either. That’s why certian public libraries in the United States have started to lend out e-books for the Amazon Kindle handheld.
On paper (no pun intended), this sounds like a great idea. To this day, I still enjoy going to the public library to borrow books, DVDs, and all sorts of other content that I may not otherwise buy. This public resource is fantastic, especially for people who can’t afford to otherwise immerse themselves in this much content. And now e-books are part of the mix too.
However, the public library treats the digital copy of a book much like the paper version of a book. They have a certain number of copies and, if they are all currently borrowed, you have to put yourself on the waiting list. This is just like borrowing a physical book, probably because of copyright legalities. The convenience is that you can “borrow” the e-books from the comfort of your home, because they can be downloaded directly through your local library’s website (which will direct you through Amazon.com).
Since an e-book is treated like a physical book, you could find yourself on very long wait lists for popular e-books. Realistically, though, this is no worse than waiting for a physical book and I applaud the public libraries for making this big technological step.