B.C. libraries say they're having a hard time adding e-books to their collections because publishers are worried about their own bottom line.
Libraries typically buy from six publishers, but half of them are refusing to sell e-book versions to libraries. The latest publisher pulled out last month.
"So no matter how much money we would like to spend, we can't buy everything that we would like to buy," said Christina de Castell, the manager of online information and news with the Vancouver Public Library.
She says publishers are worried people won't buy e-books because downloading from the library is as easy as downloading from a bookstore website.
"E-books, in a sense, take away some of the barriers to people who are borrowing books from libraries, because if you're sitting on your computer and it's just as easy to borrow an e-book from the library as it is to buy one, then there's not as much incentive to buy."
That hurdle, says de Castell, is hurting local libraries. "It's really affecting what we can buy," she said.
"It's a very different picture from what we experience in print. When we're building a collection for a new branch we really have all the books that have existed that are still in print and still available, but in the case of e-books it's a very limited number of books."
B.C.'s libraries are continuing to negotiate with publishers and hoping to convince them to adopt a model similar to Netflix, said de Castell, where material is available a few months after its original release.