WHEN THE the concept of libraries lending out e-books first came about, the idea had its skeptics. Some in the publishing industry worried that the practice could eat into e-book sales, while others questioned whether such a system would be popular or effective among consumers. Some recent statistics suggest that library e-book lending is taking off.
Driven in large part by the proliferation of tablets and e-readers, digital book lending is on the rise, according to OverDrive, a leading supplier of digital content to U.S. libraries. The company, which partnered with Amazon for its Kindle lending program, reported recently that it saw a 130% increase in traffic to its "virtual branch" websites last year. OverDrive works with 18,000 libraries to offer e-books and other digital content to members.
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