May 18, 2022

Denmark: Libraries Get Into the Digital Book Business

From the Copenhagen Post:

Libraries across the country have begun loaning out for free what Danish publishers have been struggling to sell: ebooks.

The libraries’ new digital book loan service is called eReolen. It began on November 1 with a selection of just over 1,800 Danish-language digital books (alternately referred to as ebooks or e-books) from 53 different Danish publishing houses. In less than a month, around 6,000 users have borrowed ebooks some 9,600 times.


Each time a book is loaned out, the library pays the publisher a use fee – 18.5 kroner for new releases and 15 kroner for ones more than one year old. The more a title is borrowed, the lower the fee to the library. But to the patron, it’s always free.


As further encouragement to buy as well as loan, eReolen has added a ‘buy button’ to its book listings. The buy button will first be activated in mid December, but then library patrons will have the option to ‘try’, ‘loan’, or ‘buy’ digital books in Danish. The profits from sales of digital books on eReolen is to be evenly split between the libraries and publishers.


Jesper Enger-Rasmussen is the CEO of, an ebook seller with 160,000 titles in Danish, English, and German, among other languages. Although eReolen only has titles in Danish – and just under 2,000 of those – Enger-Rasmussen still worries about what it will do to his Danish ebook sales, which account for 60 percent of his business.

What really worries him is not that the libraries are loaning out ebooks, but that they plan to start selling them as well.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.