|Gutenberg gets his first Kindle|
Can I set up an eBook rental business. There are two hurdles to setting up an eBook rental business. The first is that most eBooks are licensed, not sold. When you buy a book via Kindle or through the iBooks store, for example, you have pre-agreed to the licensing rules which limit your use to the selected and approved devices. Similarly, many publishers who sell directly require end-user licenses (even those spreading the word of God). So, regardless of copyright law, these agreements prohibit further eBook distribution. Second, if the rental of eBooks is uncontrolled -- there are no mechanisms in place to limit copying -- it may be perceived as a means of encouraging infringement, especially if your site earns revenue from third-party advertising subscriptions, or some other form of revenue. In that case, you may have to fend off DMCA notices and claims of contributory or vicarious copyright infringement.
How do libraries do it? Libraries enter into agreements with eBook distributors such as Overdrive and EBSCO who, in turn, have entered into agreements with publishers. These agreements establish the end user's rights, digital rights management systems, and the limitations under which the library must operate.