The government has said that it wants libraries across the country to “transform”, in keeping with the digital age, by offering e-books, and has asked for a review on the benefits of e-lending systems by a panel of experts.
According to culture minister Ed Vaizey, “Just as e-readers are transforming the way people access books, e-lending could help transform the way people use libraries.” He has asked publisher William Sieghart to lead the review, which will be conducted by a panel of experts who will look at various aspects of e-lending, including future demand and the impact on libraries and on people such as the elderly who may not be able to take advantage of the system and will present their findings early next year.
Approximately 70 per cent of UK libraries provide e-lending services currently, according to The Telegraph, which also reported that some publishers fear e-lending may lead to a decrease in book sales.
Janene Cox, president of the Society of Chief Librarians and a panellist for the review, believes that by offering downloadable e-books, libraries could attract more people.
“We need to ensure that our service reflects the changing way that people want to read… I don’t believe that they [ebooks] will replace printed books or other information sources totally but they will complement and enhance them.”
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