Ebooks are golden in Denmark

Ebooks are having a boom year in Denmark where the total of ebooks borrowed from libraries is set to double.

In 2014, readers borrowed 598,168 ebooks while this year the total is expected to hit 1,161,306 — that’s from a population of just 5.6 million and from a choice of only 10,000 titles.

Members of Danish public libraries can borrow up to three ebooks a month through the online portal eReolen and they can be read across a range of devices, including computer, tablet or a phone.

The library pays a fixed price of 10-14 Danish kroner ($1.44-$2.02/£0.95-£1.33) per borrow. This compares favourably with the payouts on Kindle Unlimited where Amazon now pays out at a rate of half a cent per page read. KU previously had a flat-rate payment model and the final monthly payment in June per borrow was $1.35.

The Danish deal is on a twin track, with new releases on a license model for six months, with the cost of a license depending on the retailer’s purchase price. After six months, the title goes into a click model and pays out per download. The publisher can set a maximum limit of 1,000 loans per title per year.

The Danish library scheme differs from borrowing in the US and UK where ebooks are often bought outright and then lent out without any further payments to authors or publishers. Some traditional publishers sell ebooks to libraries at vastly higher prices than normal retail to take into account that they will be lent out.

Danish public libraries lent out 27 million print books in 2014.