Dear Book Publishers:
This is an open plea for the book publishers of the world to find a way to make peace with public libraries and to start offering every book available through the library system. Also, please make a single, easy-to-use platform for delivering such materials. Too many publishers have decided to make only a few titles available for lending, and some (you know who you are) have decided to not make any titles available.
To put it simply, if book publishers do not make it work with libraries, other companies will. Case in point: the other day I finished reading (on my iPad) a book I had borrowed from my local library. I read it through the Kindle Cloud, which is a simple, easy way to read Kindle books on any digital platform, including the rivals from Barnes & Noble and Apple. I can read a Kindle book through the Kindle Cloud reader on any device on which I can access the Web. When I got to the end of the book, the device displayed a brief message: should I elect to purchase the book I had just finished reading from Amazon, any notes or highlights I had made in the text would be preserved. This is a nice touch, but it is not so very far away from Amazon including a buy-now button on the last page of the book!
And, it would not be such a bad thing for Amazon to try—striking some sort of deal with libraries to bypass book publishers completely and offering Amazon (and perhaps Amazon-only) titles to public lending libraries. And, to make the deal even sweeter, Amazon could cut the libraries in on part of the action. Win-win all around, except not for book publishers. Again.
So, book publishers, I end my open plea to you by asking you to stop being so short-sighted and open your eyes to the possibilities around you. Make a deal with benefits for you, public libraries, and the reading public before another player in the industry does.