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Bilbary to Start Digital Textbook Rentals in the UK Next Month

It’s been just over a year since Bilbary came on the ebook scene, and while they have yet to live up to the early hype of last fall their plans are still moving forward.

The Bookseller is reporting this morning Bilbary’s long delayed rental plans are about to come to fruition. Bilbary’s UK website, which finally launched last month, is going to offer rentals starting sometime in December.

Tim Coates, founder and CEO of Bilbary, expects to have around 40,000 titles ready for lending, and he is also hopeful that the selection will soon be expanded to 100,000 titles. According to Coates: “We have a lot of support from publishers such as Taylor & Francis. We hope it will supplement university libraries—students are often all looking for the same book at the same time, so this gives them somewhere else to get it. The budgets aren’t there for libraries to have more copies, but this provides another revenue stream for publishers.”

Amazon, Coursesmart, and others have invested a lot of time in this particular rental market, so it is not clear to me that Bilbary will amount to much. But even if they do, Bilbary is still a 3rd rate ebook source.

Some time back I posted a PDF which compared prices and availability of paper books and ebooks for both the consumer and library markets. One detail which I didn’t call out at the time was the list which detailed how many titles which could be found at Bilbary. They only had 14 out of the 25 titles checked (based on the USA Today best seller’s list), while that same PDF showed that you could find all 25 titles in the Nook and Kindle stores.

I do wish more people would look past the hype and evaluate this startup for what it is really accomplishing. So far as I can tell, there’s not much yet to make Bibary more newsworthy than any of a hundred others.


image by velkr0

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