Recently the U.K.’s Society of Authors has called for payments to authors made under the national tax-payer funded Public Lending Rights (PLR) program to be expanded to include digital content. Though such an expansion seems unlikely in a time of austerity, the principle of appropriately compensating creators of content is an appropriate extension the concept of intellectual property rights.
Most of the countries of the world that value individuals’ intellectual contributions to society have some model of tracking library usage of authors’ works and compensating them for that usage. Such schemes allow the public greater access to books without undermining writers’ ability to make a living.
Libraries are having trouble keeping up with the demand for ebooks, especially in Kindle format. It’s not unusual for a suburban library to have under 15% of its Kindle ebooks available for checkout on a given day. The popularity of eBook lending in U.S. libraries, dominated by eBook supplier Overdrive, demands greater compensation to content producers if borrowers hope to have access to anything more than a narrow selection of commercialized works.