Why do I have to wait for eBooks and audiobooks?

When we buy an eBook or downloadable audiobook, we are buying a license to lend the title. We don't own the file the way we own physical items. Every publisher or content owner sets different restrictions for their licenses.

eBooks and audiobooks are available to us in two ways.

  • One copy per user. Many publishers limit the library to lending each digital "copy" to one person at a time. This is why you need to place holds on digital titles.
  • Metered Access. Some publishers limit the library to lending copies that expire at the end of a loan period. The publisher sets the loan period. They decide if titles expire after a period of time, a number of checkouts, or both. For example, some copies expire after 26 checkouts. Others expire after 52 checkouts or 24 months. When a title expires, we need to buy more copies to continue to make the title available to library users.