Monday, October 19, 2009

Libraries and e-books

After reading this NY Times article on libraries buying and loaning e-books, I'm left with two clashing views. I love libraries. I borrow books just about every week. I read a ton, and if I were to buy every book I read, I'd be broke and have a house that was condemnable due to clutter. And in a broader sense, I think it's only right that literature be available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay for it. In this vein, I don't see why libraries shouldn't buy the rights to e-books and lend them out like they do traditional books.

That said, I know how much work goes into creating a book. Writers deserve to be paid for that work (much more than most published writers are currently paid). I hope to publish a book some day soon. I hope to make money off that book so I can devote more of my time to writing. So I'm sympathetic to the worries of publishers and authors that no one will buy an e-book if they can get it for free from their library. This argument doesn't apply in the same way to print books--when you buy a print book, you get something you can keep on your shelf and lend to a friend. The same is not true when you buy an e-book. So while I sometimes go out and buy books that I read in the library and really loved and want to own, I can't imagine the same would be true for something I read on my computer/Ipod/whatever other devise one might have.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this debate. Please comment away! Best Blogger Tips

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