How do online libraries “run out” of copies of e-books?

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I’m kinda stupid, but aren’t they just sharing a downloaded document?

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4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

They buy licenses for a certain number of copies. They can only loan out that number of copies at a time, or will be in violation of the license they are using. There is likely an electronic way to track this rather than just an honor system. So it may actually be a real limit.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The license agreements they use to purchase them for renting out only allows them to lend out so many copies at once. This is a restriction put in by the publisher so that there is artificial scarcity, increasing the likelihood that someone will just buy the book themselves when it’s not available.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They have to license each copy, just as they’d have to buy multiple copies of a book. If they pay for 5 licenses then they can only loan it to 5 people at a time.

Anonymous 0 Comments

>just sharing a downloaded document

No, because the author still deserves to be paid for how many people read their book, so the library isn’t just open file sharing. The library has to buy licenses per copy the same way they would with a physical book. If 100 people want the book and the library decides to buy 20 (electronic) copies, the author gets paid more than if 3 people want the book and the library buys 1 copy.