Replacing ILL with temporary leases of ebooks is a blog post by Michael Levine-Clark pointing to the inefficiencies of ILL in providing both print and ebooks and saying that “librarians need to stop trying to recreate ILL for e-books. Instead, we should work with publishers to develop a model to lease e-books temporarily.” As essential as interlibrary loan has been to scholars and students over the years, Mr. Levine-Clark insists that ” it doesn’t make much sense in a world of digital collections.” He outlines the typical ILL process for both ebooks and print books and while admitting that there are “fewer steps in the ebook process” he claims that both “are too time consuming and expensive.” Instead he makes the argument that librarians should spend their energy working with publishers “to develop a model to lease e-books temporarily” and offers a simple three step process that he claims “could save money and time, getting that book to the student instantly.”
Mr. Levine-Clark has questioned the efficiency of interlibrary loan in the past but this post offers a succinct presentation of his arguments as well as a suggestion for the on-demand leasing of ebooks that warrants discussion. One suspects that ILL of both print titles and ebooks will be with us for a while yet but Mr. Levine-Clark may be on to something. A hybrid model that includes the on demand leasing of ebooks for patrons could very well be a big part of any future solution, especially as more book content is made available online.