If libraries can loan ebooks why cant I? How could this work?
Loaning would occur inside Digital Editions, would require the Adobe id of the borrower and, if needed, a connection to the internet (to update the DRM).
eBooks would not be able to be loaned pass their expiry date (usually unlimited).
When an ebook is loaned the loaners ebook is disabled for the loaning period (most likely in units of days).
A loan copy is created that is linked to the borrower, set to expire at the end of the loan period, and stored in the On Loan bookshelf (new shelf) in Digital Editions.
The loaner could then send the loaned ebook to the borrower via email or copying to a memory card or the like.
When the borrower loads the borrowed ebook into Digital Editions it appears as a normal ebook (if chain loaning is a feature) or a borrowed book(if chain loaning is not a feature), both with an expiry date.
At expiry the borrowers borrowed ebook is disabled and the loaners loaned ebook is enabled.
If chain loaning is to be a feature of loaning in Digital Editions the borrower can loan the ebook with still only one enabled copy in the chain of loans (just like a physical book). Better still, since loaning is restricted to expiry date the owner of the ebook neednt worry who the initial borrower has passed it on to since all the borrowed ebooks in the chain will expire at or before the loaning period and the owners ebook will be re-enabled at that time (better than physically loaning a book).
If chain loaning is not to be a feature then borrowed books will not be able to be loaned.
For chain loaning, with the requirement of a connection to the DRM server for loaning, tricks like loaning a book for an extended period of time and then having the borrower immediately loan it back to the loaner for that time (effectively two enabled copies; cheating!!) can be avoided. The DRM server would know the loaning chain and prevent such action.
A benefit of not allowing chain loaning is that the borrower can return the ebook early. This would be more difficult in chain loaning as an early return would require all the borrowings further up the loan chain to be disabled.
It would be nice to be able to Give Away an ebook as well; where the giver transfers all rights to the receiver and can no longer read the ebook; unless, of course, it is borrowed from the new owner.