"You as the consumer, if you were to go out and buy an e-book, it would probably cost you around $15, but if library buys an e-book, we're paying about $100," chief librarian Greg Buss told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.
"The other thing that people assume is that it's a digital copy, therefore you can take that one book and have many people read simultaneously, but in fact the e-book is treated just like a physical book — one copy to each reader."
Buss said 92 per cent of the library's circulation is still print material, but as e-books become more popular, the library is trying to embrace the new technology.
"I think the role of the public library is to meet the public's needs and what the public is interested in," he said.
Buss said the $200,000 from the city will help the library right now, but it will have to find other ways to sustain itself in the future.
"They also threw out a challenge to us… as we grow and thrive and make more services for the community we have to look at other ways of providing some of those resources."
He said the library's board of directors is already looking at other resources like reaching out for private donations.
To hear the full interview with Richmond chief librarian Greg Buss, click the audio labelled: Cost of e-books hits Richmond Public Library.