I got given a Kobo ebook reader for Christmas, which, for those who haven't spent the last year getting very au fait with ereaders and ebooks, is like a Kindle but not tied to Amazon. I have been reading ebooks on my iPod Touch during the last year and have gotten on very well with it, but the bigger screen of the Kobo does make reading easier, and when I take it outside the eink will be a lot easier to read because there is no glare, which you do get with a phone/iPod.etc
I have downloaded a book from the library website and am reading that, plus I have reserved the new Claire Tomalin biography of Dickens which I want to read. All this is good.
However I am a library book user and always have been. I only buy books which I want to keep or reread, I don't buy books which I just want to read once. The reasons for this are the cost - I couldn't afford to buy all the books I read, and I couldn't find the place to keep them all either. I do buy books, and have lots of books round the house, but by no means buy all that I read.
I was talking to a friend who was thinking about buying her husband an ereader for Christmas, but he is an even more avid library user than I am and he would be outraged at the thought that he would have to buy ebooks which he can borrow in hard copy for free from the library.
The publishers would undoubtedly stop libraries being developed today if someone suggested creating the library service today (as opposed to massacring it as the current goverenment is doing, but that is a different blog). They are resisting ebooks with great vigour. Libraries are being denied access to ebooks by the publishers and some of them are talking absolute twaddle as well. All the ebook services work on one copy, one loan - exactly like the physical books. Libraries buy the ebooks. We also pay a download charge (only 5p, but still). But publishers seem to think that people will break the digital rights management software which controls the loan period and send dozens of copies off into the big wide world.
They seem to have not noticed that you can't lend an ebook like you can a hard copy book. If I bought a book dozens of other people can read that copy after me. Unless I lend my reader, I can't lend the ebooks on it.
They also seem to have not noticed how easy it would be to scan a physical book. If people really want to make a copy of a book it is easy to do. In the same way the music industry had piracy problems because they didn't adapt to the new technologies, the publishers are not learning from that, and are making the same mistakes. Stupid or what?
It is frustrating. But I am not going to be blackmailed into buying ebooks just because they want me to, I will only buy the ones I want.