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Old 10-16-2012, 04:57 PM   #46
ottdmk
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Posts: 338
Karma: 2467598
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Device: Kobo Aura HD
I honestly can't see e-lending becoming a priority for anyone, including Kobo. It's a difficult process.

Lending a physical book is easy. You hand the book to the other person. They take it and read it. Simple. The publishers & other copyright holders are grudgingly content because at least you, the original purchaser, don't have access to the work for the length of the loan. (Publishers would naturally prefer that folks don't lend books, or sell used books, but instead everyone buys new copies. But they can live with the physical book lending model.)

Lending an ebook gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, how do you make it easy? E-mailing the file isn't as simple as you'd think... at least not for the non-tech-savvy. Where is the file stored? How's it named?

And it doesn't answer the question for the copyright holders: how do you disable your access to the book while it's loaned out? To do that, you need something interacting with the file, temporarily locking you out of it.

E-book reader retailers can do this, because they're using DRM and they continually update your library whenever you sync. But then they have to implement new features in the firmware ("Lend this book to a friend.")

But what about non-DRM titles? (Thankfully on the uprise.) What about that second e-reader that you almost never sync? What about the one in calibre?

It's virtually impossible to be sure that someone hasn't kept access to the book in some way. Which is why publishers will never be enthusiastic about enabling lending, or about extending first-sale rights to e-books.

Libraries have the infrastructure to pull off e-book lending. I can't see the average joe ever having the infrastructure, or wanting it. The closest we're gonna get is the Amazon program, and you can see how much buy-in that's gotten. (Then there's the Amazon library thing which you get with Prime. Consider it a paid library membership.)
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