There was an extremely interesting article (at least, I thought it was) in today's Wall Street Journal titled E-Readers on Checkout. It's a short article and definitely worth reading.
But for those who don't feel like reading it, here is a summary:
Since the New York Public Library (NYPL) has started loaning ebooks, especially those formatted for the Kindle, the library has doubled its registrations for the ebook service, and every day "signs up about 200 new users." Wow. That is a lot of people using the library.
In addition to this boom in ebook loans, NYPL is thinking about loaning the actual e-readers. I am very curious to know how these loans would work. Would the library have books already on the e-readers? or would a patron check out the e-reader and then be able to choose which book(s) to put on it? Hmm...all these questions!
Another interesting statistic from the article, "Each day, the library's website averages 2,000 e-book checkouts." So it seems that instead of decreasing library use, ebooks and e-readers are leading more people to the library. At least to NYPL, anyway.
I think this makes sense. I like using the library because 1) I don't have the money to buy all the books I want. They get expensive! 2) I don't have the shelf space to hold all the books I want. Perhaps some day I will have room for a personal library with books covering shelves from floor to ceiling, but that day is not today.
My concerns with my Kobo are similar. Even though ebooks cost less than paper books, if I bought all of the ones I want to read I would be broke. And ebooks use up memory in the kobo, so there is still a limited amount of space. Am I anywhere near using up that space? No, not even close... but some day I will be. When renting library books, they space is used up temporarily, but when the loan period is up the books automatically deletes, leaving me with plenty of memory for new reads.