The Newton County Library System has considered providing e-book services to its users, but the price has been prohibitive to this point.
Interim Library Director Bob Halcums said the subscription price for the e-book downloading system is $12,000 a year, and, if a library discontinues the subscription, it loses access to all books they purchased previously.
For a library short on funding and unsure of future funding levels, that presents too much of a risk.
Libraries have to purchase an individual license for each copy of a digital book they wish to loan out so that dozens of users cannot loan out one digital copy.
In addition, publishers have required that each e-book can only checked out 26 times on any one license. That seems unfair, because paper books can generally be checked 100 times or more before they get worn out.
"The people that we serve are still pretty happy with the actual books, although we are getting more demand for e-books," Halcums said.
The library does have access to the GALILEO system, which provides access to thousands of digital magazine articles and e-books, particularly in areas of research. GALILEO can be accessed at Galileo.usg.edu.
Although the Newton County Library System doesn't have e-books, it does offer more advanced books on tape. Instead of having to have 20 CDs for one book, the library has access to Playaway devices, whose cards can hold entire books.