The Wall Street Journal has a story about a new effort by libraries to expand the selection of titles available as free eBook loans.
The project, led by the nonprofit digital library Internet Archive, calls for “a one-stop website [openlibrary.org] for checking out e-books, including access to more than a million scanned public domain books and a catalog of thousands of contemporary e-book titles available at many public libraries.”
Here’s how it works: “To read the books, borrowers around the world can download and read them for free on computers or e-reading gadgets. Software renders the books inaccessible once the loan period ends.” According to the article, two-thirds of American libraries offered eBook loans last year, but those were mostly relegated to contemporary chart-toppers.
This sounds like a great idea, and we’re excited to see it come to life. Of course it bears similarities to Google’s ongoing effort to digitize everything, ever, and the Author’s Guild–which was not a fan of Google’s incessant scanning–is keeping an eye on it. That’s good. But for now, the article gets us excited. Much as we love brick-and-mortar libraries, we can’t help but imagine how much money we’ll save on late fees when our eBooks automatically return themselves.