There's no doubt e-books and e-readers will have been big sellers over Christmas but this take on e-book lending from publishers does raise a lot of questions for public libraries in England. If libraries are going to be blocked from lending best sellers is there much point in spending large sums on systems such as Overdrive?
It's a similar situation to the reluctance of education publishers to make certain text books available as e-books - they don't won't to lose out on the sales. In an average college popular textbooks have relatively short lives, they either get stolen or lost or fall apart because of the frequency of issue. An indestructible e-book would save college libraries a small fortune but could potentially seriously impact on the publishers profit margins.