Captured by copyright

My local library system, which serves at least a million people, only has two copies of a certain book. Well, fair enough, maybe it’s not a very popular book.

Wait, did I say “book”? Oh no, I meant ebook. The library has two “copies” of an ebook. And it’s not some obscure tome; it’s a multiple-award-winning novel from 2015.

And the waiting period for this dearly limited resource?

Fifteen weeks.

In general, this would be less obnoxious if they didn’t use the deceptive metaphorical language. Saying they “have 2 copies” and that you can “borrow” and “return” them etc.

But the deeper issue is that the use of this ebook licensing pattern (which is widespread in libraries now) is taking resources that should be going toward enhancing libraries and funnels it to these ransoms. When the particular ebook service shuts down, the library will be left with nothing. At least we’re not to the point where publishers are somehow getting laws in place to block libraries from getting physical books. But what happens with works that are only published as ebooks?? Maybe can or (or already does) at least keep copies of ebooks so that the material doesn’t completely disappear from public record?