Originally Posted by THE TERMINATOR
Hold on...If I understand you right, the they might allow 400 downloads so four hundred people can have the book out at once? would that mean no more holds?
The libraries have to pay for each digital ebook and lend it out like a physical book. At any given time, they can only lend out the number they have paid for. The next person who wants it has to wait until a copy has been "returned". From what I've been reading some libraries have it so that an ebook can't be returned early, so the next patron has to wait until the book has expired in the previous patron's account.
So, if a library licenses 2 copy of an ebook and allows them out for 2 weeks, and there is a waiting list of, for example, 21 patrons, #21 on the list would have to wait 10 weeks.
ETA response to thename: I've been reading a book review blog where a few librarians have chimed in on this issue. Not only are the ebooks not cheaper, the librarians sometimes pay a lot more than they do, even for a hardcover and they do not get a library discount for ebooks. Also, books (esp hardcover) could be checked out way more than 26 times and still hold up, so I think that limit is too draconian. Lastly, if the book is part of a series, each time a new addition to the series is added, it would not be unreasonable to expect that some patrons might want to read some or all of the previous books on the series, so letting the license expire might not serve the patrons well.
Basically, I think they need to increase the number of checkouts allowed (to at least 50) or specify a number of days it can be checked out (e.g. 730 to allow 2 years of use) or they need to substantially discount the original price and/or the relicensing price.
If they're not willing to budge, I'd rather see my local library system spend its budget on paper books.