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New library ebook service launched – Freading

Library Ideas launched a new ebook service for libraries Friday at the ALA Conference in New Orleans.

Freading is a pay-per-use system, and it’s launching with 20 thousand titles from over a dozen publishers. Unlike OverDrive or Axis 360, Freading allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous users, but it also charges between 50 cents and $2 for each checkout (renewals cost less).

The ebooks are lent for a 2 week period, and the ebooks are encumbered with Adobe DE DRM.

It goes into beta this summer for 10 libraries, including Orange County Public Library System (FL), the Free Library of Philadelphia, Maricopa County Library District (AZ), Los Gatos Public Library (CA), and the Westport Public Library (CT). Not all of the participating publishers have been announced, but the ones that have include Sterling Publishing, Sourcebooks, Andrews McMeel, and Regnery Publishing.

via Library Journal

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yuzutea June 25, 2011 um 7:31 pm

Unless they pass the costs down to the patrons, isn’t this going to become seriously expensive for the libraries? As a library user, I’d be ok with paying 50 cents to rent a backlist ebook, though.

Nate Hoffelder June 25, 2011 um 7:53 pm

That’s what I was thinking, yes.

BTW, here’s a blog post about a similar service from the same company. Sarah eventually concluded that it was simply too expensive.

Mike Cane June 25, 2011 um 8:04 pm

That won’t fly unless offered as an overflow option: "Sorry, that book is checked out. Would you like to rent a copy immediately?"

A bad precedent. Why offer it through libraries? Make it direct to consumers.

Erica June 27, 2011 um 12:52 pm

It’s an interesting concept, but I wonder how popular it would be. 50¢-$2 is still something compared to free. I’m also inclined to think that those that can afford an ereader are more likely to be able to afford the $5-$10 to own the book.

Maybe a subscription? $20/year gets you ebook access? Or until it’s practically free, I guess I don’t see it being very successful. Part of the glory of ebooks is the instant gratification – buy, download, read.

Looking forward to seeing the outcome though!

Nate Hoffelder June 27, 2011 um 1:11 pm

The libraries would be charged, not the patrons. But it is expensive, yes.

HB July 8, 2011 um 2:07 pm

What you are missing is that the library is able to limit the # of books that patrons can check out per week—this is a "throttle" on costs

Amy July 30, 2011 um 11:41 pm

That’s really not much of a "throttle", considering the number of patrons libraries have. This doesn’t make much sense in the library model – the more people who download a title, the more expensive it is for the library. That’s the opposite of our typical lending model, and not very sustainable.

Mary August 12, 2011 um 3:08 pm

I have heard no mention of which publishers are on board. Does anyone know?

Sue November 8, 2011 um 10:54 am

It could be expensive, true, but for small libraries it’s far less expensive than the big name vendor’s. To equate the cost to Overdrive – my library would have to circulate 4000 top of the line books a year and then the book purchases would be additional expense. 3M’s system? I’d have to circulate 10k e-books plus buy the books I don’t think my 4000 patron’s are going to do this.

Freading Proves That Rentals Aren’t Completely Out of the Question – The Digital Reader May 1, 2012 um 7:39 pm

[…] was at PLA 2012 this week, and they had their 2 pay-per-use services on display.Freading initially caught my eye because it’s not your usual library ebook service. Rather than sell titles, Freading  lets […]

Marilyn April 9, 2014 um 11:54 am

How do I find my user name and password if I have forgotten them?

Freading Proves That Rentals Aren't Completely Out of the Question | The Digital Reader June 25, 2017 um 4:28 pm

[…] initially caught my eye because it's not your usual library ebook service. Rather than sell titles, Freading lets libraries […]

HarperCollins Sign Pay-per-Lend Agreements with Freading, Hoopla, OverDrive | The Digital Reader June 25, 2017 um 6:35 pm

[…] has been offering this service since 2012 (today is actually the 6th anniversary of the announcement). Hoopla got into this market three […]

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