Penguin E-Books For Libraries

Penguin Books has decided to go with the flow, and once again provide libraries with e-books for lending.

The announcement is the latest development in a tug-of-war between publishers and libraries, who have argued over the degree of access to e-books that library patrons should be allowed. As more book buyers have bought e-readers like the Nook and the Kindle, they have also discovered the ease of borrowing e-books from their local libraries – a transaction that doesn’t even require a visit to a library, since e-books can be downloaded remotely.

But major publishers, including Penguin, concerned that free downloads at the library were costing them e-book sales, have scaled back their books’ availability in recent months. That has left library patrons without many newly released books to borrow, frustrating librarians across the country. (Macmillan and Simon & Schuster have never allowed libraries to lend their e-books at all.)

SF readers have been thinking about e-books for a long time, at least since Stanislaw Lem wrote about them in his 1961 classic Return from the Stars. Perhaps you could bring up this article on his crystal corn e-book memory crystals on your iPad or other tablet device.

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