The Internet Archive's Open Library scans books that they have physical copies of, then lends the resulting ebooks to its patrons, building on the precedent set in 2014's Hathi Trust ruling.
The Archive has purchased millions of books and stored them in climate-controlled warehouses, but only a small fraction of these books have been scanned to date.
The Archive has a new book sponsorship program, which lets you direct a cash donation to pay for the purchase and scanning of any books. In return, you are first in line to check that book out when it is available, and then anyone who holds an Open Library library card can check it out.
The prices vary based on the retail cost of the book and the estimated time to scan it. Your donations are tax-deductible.
If I sponsor a book, do I get to read it first?
Yes. When you sponsor a book, you have the option to be first on the waiting-list to read the title, once it becomes available.
When will my sponsored book be available?
We're aiming to fulfill sponsorship requests within 1 month of receipt. Actual fulfillment time may vary depending on shipping, processing, and demand.
Can I sponsor more copies of a book?
Unfortunately, due to physical space limitations of the Internet Archive's physical archive facilities, only works which are not yet represented in the Internet Archive's collection are eligible for sponsorship at this time (2019-10-18). The sponsorship program is not a way to make more copies of an existing book available. We hope the program will enable the community to diversify Open Library's collection with new works that server broader audiences. And that patrons will join us in the mission of catalog and preserve a copy of every book.
Building an Open Library, Together [Open Library/Internet Archive]
(via Four Short Links)