Here in the United States, libraries are complaining that recent price increases by publishers are making it difficult for them to continue loaning eBooks. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, private companies specializing in lending eBooks are thriving.
What's a writer to think about all this lending (not to mention claims of collusion, price fixing and plagiarism?)
It's an important issue and one every writer should be following closely. What is happening in the publishing industry is very similar to what happened in the music industry not so very long ago. Traditional music distribution methods were turned on their ear when MP3's came along and the reverberations are still being felt by artists, managers and record producers today.
No matter how many lawsuits the Recording Industry Association of America filed they could not stop illegal file sharing by individuals nor could they prevent the continued rise of file sharing sites. Today we have a music industry kept afloat by MP3's, YouTube channels and music listening sites like Spotify and Pandora.
I can't help but believe that the same will soon be true of books (eBooks.) I read an article more than a decade ago which talked about the future of media and how one day, rather than seeking to own media (books, albums, movies, whatever) we will simply have access to a database where all these things will be stored. That day is almost here, and the sooner we figure out how to preserve profits for creators and publishers, the better off we will all be.