Major book publishers impose limits on how libraries handle ebooks, with short-term licenses and contracts.
Because only one reader can check out an ebook at a time, and because the cost of licensing an ebook is prohibitively high for libraries to invest in hundreds of copies for every new title, library-goers have become accustomed to long waits to check out ebooks, particularly bestsellers. For publishers, that’s the point. If you have to wait weeks to check out a new ebook, you might just cruise on over to Amazon and pay $14.99 to have it delivered immediately to your Kindle or the Kindle app on your phone.
Expensive college textbooks and dumb eBook rules are two good examples of how ripe for disruption this space is. It’s also shortsighted. The point of digital media is to make it so easy to access that people don’t feel the need to pirate anymore. But practices like this is partly what drives people to pirate.