Kindle’s on the Library Bandwagon

Amazon conceded its aloof status in the library world yesterday and decided to play with the other e-readers, finally allowing its users to download library books onto their Kindles.  While not a surprising move, it is significant in terms of book sales, considering how many Kindle users there are.  Not all publishers are making their titles available to the Kindle and many are uncomfortable with the inevitable drop in sales that will accompany a decrease in libraries’ needs to replace worn books on their shelves.

If we’re going to encourage this digital transition, I think it’s stupid to set an e-reader apart from the rest by not allowing it to be active in the existing book community.  That exclusivity seems to intended to establish an elite club, when, in actuality, it alienates readers and puts further barricades up between readers, publishers, authors, book providers, and the page.

The ominous waves undulating from where the Kindle has taken the plunge will hopefully cause more publishers to buckle down and establish an industry standard on how digital books should be handled, not just in terms of library lending, but as a true player in the book market.  This digital cloud of literature and inadequate policies is settling like a smog over the entire industry and a clean-air act needs to be implemented soon before too much degradation occurs.

You can read Julie Bosman’s New York Times article on the Kindle’s newest powers here.

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2 thoughts on “Kindle’s on the Library Bandwagon

  1. I think the fairest solution involves the Harper Collins method. Issue licenses on library ebooks that allow only a finite amount of lends. The key is finding the magic number of lends that sees publishers/book providers profit from license repurchasing while still allowing libraries to save money with ebooks that are cheaper to purchase and need to be replaced less. That number is certainly higher than the 26 that Harper Collins currently uses. Personal licenses a la computer/gaming software might actually work for personal lending and ebook gifting as well.

    • Tim, I couldn’t agree more. As it stands, physical books are checked out far more than 26 times before they must be replaced. Libraries should have to renew their “lease” on the digital titles so that the publishers and authors aren’t adversely affected by an e-book-induced drop in sales; however, a more realistic shelf life must be determined.

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