See this paper by OverDrive (“OverDrive is a leading full-service digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video. We deliver secure management, DRM protection, and download fulfillment services for hundreds of publishers and thousands of libraries, schools, and retailers, serving millions of end users”)
Aimed at publishers, it talks of the marketing opportunities available to publishers to increase their sales through the free advertising that takes place in Libraries (especially in their catalogues).
While more than 900 print copies of the book were purchased for Toronto’s library patrons, just 3 percent of the total order (30 copies) were eBooks and digital audiobooks for the library’s “virtual branch.” These 30 digital copies have garnered more than 2,500 online page views since The Lost Symbol’s release in September 2009.
Similarly, New York Public Library owns two eBook copies of Sarah Blake’s The New York Times Best Seller, The Postmistress. Throughout the month of February, these two copies were checked out and therefore not available for others to borrow. However, during February, The Postmistress eBook title page at New York Public Library was viewed 53 times. Each viewer who was unable to check out and download the eBook was able to glean additional information about the title. Libraries are simply not meeting demand for eBooks, but they are whetting the consumer appetite.
As the papers says, libraries are not meeting the demand for ebooks, therefore un-catered for library patrons are going on to buy product. OverDrive is looking to cater to this market by making a buy option available.
Maybe libraries should divert more money from print purchasing, or, renegotiate its DRM licences. I think the former will be easier somehow.