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September 28, 2012

UK government announces review of e-book lending from libraries

Plans are afoot to make e-books available free from every library as an alternative to printed books.

By CBR Staff Writer

The UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced a review of ebook lending policy where goverment is considering to make E-books available free from every library as an alternative to printed books.

Instead of of users shifting through the bookshelves, they will be availed with a list of titles for download, making books available remotely through home computer or table.

The publisher William Sieghart will lead the e-book review pannel of experts to assist in ensuring that libraries and their users, authors and publishers benefit through the growth of the nascent service.

UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said that e-lending is currently in its infancy but growing fast.

"Just as e-readers are transforming the way people access books, e-lending could help transform the way people use libraries," Vaizey said.

"By acting now we can help influence the growth of e-lending to ensure that libraries, authors, publishers and the public all benefit from this potentially valuable new service."

The review includes the issues regarding the benefits of e-lending, the existing level of e-lending and future demand, the obstacles to delivery of e-books to libraries and the probable effects of e-lending.The panel is due to report back in 2013.

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But publishers fear that e-lending will lead to a drop in sales of books as users will not be interested to buy books.

UK Publishers Association Richard Mollett said: "When it’s as easy to buy a book as to click a button and borrow one, a lot more people are going to take the borrowing option and that has serious implications for authors and their royalties, booksellers and publishers."

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