The UK government is seriously looking into compensating authors when their ebooks are borrowed from public libraries. Culture minister Ed Vaizey announced a decision will be made after a formal review, published last week, concluded libraries must stock digital titles or become “increasingly irrelevant”. The main thought is that authors and publishers will get royalties when an ebook is loaned out from public libraries, and that will be the deciding factor whether they will embrace a government initiative.
“Publishers have been collectively nervous of applying the same model for selling digital books as for their printed counterparts, when it comes to selling to libraries,” the independent panel concluded in its review.
“This is because of their concerns about remote downloading, where a library member downloads a book on to a digital device via the internet, avoiding the need for a visit to the library at all… publishers and booksellers fear that it would be too easy to borrow a book for free. So easy in fact, that the borrower might never need to buy another book.”
It seems that the UK Government is taking digital ebooks in the library very seriously. The essence of this report really says that customers shouldn’t have to pay anything extra to download ebooks and that they should be able to do it remotely. The rest of the report dives into the semantics of audio and video delivery and how that plays a part in the traditional library experience. You can read the full report HERE.