The Vancouver Public library is doing something innovative when it comes to loaning out digital books to patrons. They have launched a Fast Reads program and ebooks cannot be placed on hold and are only available for seven-day loan periods, meaning they will be made available to other members sooner than traditional books. There is also a two-item limit for Fast Reads ebooks, so patrons cannot abuse the system.
Most the ebooks in the Fast Reads program are very popular and includes titles such as Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, Feared by Lisa Scottoline, Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter and the Fallen by David Baldacci. VPL has only included 300 ebooks in the Fast Reads system and they will be adding more in the future.
I think it is interesting that there is no holds with the books in this collection, everything is on a first come, first served basis. After the 7 day period ebooks are automatically put back into the pool of available titles.
Will other big libraries in Canada and the United States start to emulate this model? It is a good way to ensure that bestselling books are always available and there are no holds, which means they are always available to borrow.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.