Posted by: bluesyemre | February 17, 2013

Can Libraries Lend eBooks Without DRM?

  • Libraries have built another powerful social construct around lending books. You would think that libraries would be able to think of a way to do this for ebooks without resorting to DRM software. But noooo! Here’s the problem: ebooks aren’t print books, and the most popular model for library lending of ebooks is what I call “Pretend It’s Print”. Only one person can use the ebook at a time. So when one person is “borrowing” the the book, everyone else has to wait their turn. The reason that libraries accept this model is that it would be prohibitively expensive to license a popular book for the use of all of their patrons at once. The downside is that the fictional scarcity of the ebook has to be enforced somehow. Most publishers don’t trust that libraries have the technical expertise to securely encrypt files, manage keys, and track licenses to enforce the print-ness of an ebook. So libraries end up lending ebooks only via “platform vendors” such as Overdrive, 3M, EBSCO, ebrary, EBL and others.


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  2. […] Can Libraries Lend eBooks Without DRM? ( […]


  3. […] Can Libraries Lend eBooks Without DRM? ( […]


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