"The library's e-book service is great because I don't have to park, walk to the library, find the book and check it out," said the accountant [Krantz]. "The only complaint I have is that I have to wait longer than usual for an e-book because the library seems to stock few digital copies of the titles I want."
Krantz represents a growing number of Central Florida readers depending on their public libraries to fuel their consumption of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and other digital media. At the same time, librarians across the Orlando area are scrambling to meet that increasing demand while facing rising e-book costs and budget cuts.
"The growing expense of e-books is something we're up against as a profession," Pepo said. Tate explains that the library's two e-book copies of "Guilt," a bestselling thriller by Jonathan Kellerman, cost the Seminole County PublicLibrary about $84 each. But each of the 20 copies of the same title in print cost $28.
"That really chips into your budget as you try to provide patrons e-books," Tate said.
Publishing houses say e-book prices are high because they don't ever wear out, are borrowed more frequently than print books and are convenient: Users don't have to go to a library to check them out.