GREENSBORO, N.C. — If you wanted an audiobook or an e-book, how much would you expect to pay? A dollar? Five dollars? You’d expect to pay maybe 10 to 15 bucks, at the most. But libraries are being charged around 4 times that much.

It’s a problem eating at Library budgets across the country. “People don’t realize how expensive these digital copies are,” says Nathan James, executive library director in Little Rock, Arkansas.

James says his library system will spend $560,000 on digital materials. That’s compared to the $89,000 they have set aside for traditional books.

The average copy of an e-book on Amazon would cost around $12 bucks. However, libraries are reportedly paying between $50 to $65 per copy.

We followed up with the Greensboro Central Library and the problem is here as well. They say the price of e-books has steadily risen. At the beginning of the decade, it made up only 1% of the budget. Now, it takes up a full quarter of it.

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