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Ash HN: Why are “rented” eBooks at the library a thing?
5 points by fmitchell0 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 12 comments
I've never understood the concept of "renting" or "borrowing" an eBook from the library.

What is it's purpose? What problem does it solve?

I get that eBooks may need to expired access after a given amount of time, but I'm not sure why.

Because the copyright industry is stuck in the past...

But to their defense, I don't know what the best alternative is.

Because the economic relationships between libraries, publishers, and authors was established on the basis of physical books. And that relationship mostly works.

Ebooks break that model, so the solution is to treat ebooks like physical books.

Probably to limit the number of simultaneous rentals, handle people forgetting to return or delete books and preventing them from wandering off to others. Win for the libraries if the cost of the service < handling all those dead trees.

What is wrong with people 'simultaneously' being able to read an eBook?

I feel like I'm missing something obvious.

It can't satisfy greed, that's what's wrong.

Publishers don't want libraries and patrons to have access to unlimited free copies for the price of one.

> What is it's purpose? What problem does it solve?

Patron wants to read a book. Library wants to let them read a book. Publisher wants to get paid. Library doesn't want to buy a whole book for the patron.

Are you suggesting eBooks be free? How would the authors be compensated?

How does it work with borrowing physical books from the library and me not paying a late fee?

There’s only one book-instance involved when it’s dead tree. Unless you copy the thing which is a different legal position.

Don't they usually stop you from further borrowing books if you have unpaid late fees?

Is someone on hacker news asking how libraries work?

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