Kindle titles on library shelves

In another crossover between the physical and virtual worlds, it will soon be possible for American owners to “borrow” Kindle books from their local library.

The service has been made possible through an agreement between Amazon and Overdrive, an existing service for such e-book borrowing. The service already has apps for devices such as the Sony Reader, BlackBerry smartphones and the iPad. But while there’s no technical barrier, it’s still somewhat of a surprise that Amazon was talked into agreeing a licensing deal.

Unlike some Overdrive services, which allow Wi-Fi downloading when visiting a library in person, the Kindle loans will be via the respective library website. Lending times will vary from library to library but should be around seven to 14 days.

There’s also support for one notable Kindle feature that’s very much not encouraged with printed books: notes and annotations. Users will be able to add notes to a book, and once the book has been returned, the notes will be stored on the user’s account and will be accessible if they borrow the book again or buy a copy from Amazon. However, notes made by one user won’t be accessible by another user, which is a shame for those of a more curious nature.

Unfortunately while libraries and e-Reader manufacturers have begun playing nicely, the same can’t be said of publishers. HarperCollins, for example, has put a flat limit of 26 total loans (across all borrowers) for each of its e-books from a particular library. That’s the type of licensing restriction that looks ridiculous from a practical standpoint: imagine if a library had to destroy a printed book after 26 loans.

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4 Responses to Kindle titles on library shelves

  1. It's about time! It's silly it took this long for them (Kindle) to get their act together so people can check out books with at the Library.

    HarperCollins is a butt. If they were smart they'd be more ebook friendly. Why are companies so thick headed about digital content? It's not like they can't make money off of it, jeesh.

    • You can see why… once digital content is out there, its pretty much out there for good. Alot easier than say photocopying a hard copy…

      That said, the industry is going to go the same way as newspapers are starting to go, and physical print will decline. They need to jump on the band waggon as soon as possible, to perfect the technology so when the time comes, they wont go into decline.

      • With your logic than the music industry should just stick to CDs and screw that whole MP3 thing. Just because someone will pirate your work is not a good enough reason to skip that whole "digital content" thing. There are way too many advantages to going digital to wring ones hands over potential theft. (And lets be fair, the lower something is priced and the more widely available it is, the less likely someone is to steal it. Assuming they have spending money to begin with.)

  2. I suppose we should get used to this. Once all of the bricks-and-mortar bookshops are gone after Amazon has killed them off, once all of the books printed on paper are gone after Amazon has ruthlessly pushed its electronic format (content which can be deactivated, by Amazon, on a whim – unlike printed books whichare forever the property of the owner) thereby placing all control over distribution with Amazon, once all of the rights for publication rest with Amazon, the one monopolistic corporate market-maker as they are currently trying to do now, we will wonder why we didn't see it coming sooner. We have a lot of opportunities available on the Internet and I think we should use them in full. For instance, I borrow money through online cash advance stores and absolutely satisfied with the service.

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