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The End of the Bookshelf? 11,000 Libraries Offer E-book Loans on Kindle

kindleAccording to Amazon, 11,000 libraries are participating in a new e-book loan program for Kindle. Library patrons can download copies of books to their e-readers. They can make notes and bookmarks on the book’s virtual pages.

Amazon notes on its website that the e-books will expire after a specified time. But after an e-book expires it can be checked out again—and the reader’s notes and bookmarks will still be intact.

Checking out digital media from libraries is nothing new: Many libraries have been using OverDrive for digital and audio downloads for a while now. But it is becoming more prevalent.

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: How do you feel about the concept of checking out a digital book?

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7 Responses to The End of the Bookshelf? 11,000 Libraries Offer E-book Loans on Kindle

  1. I am a little concerned about the closing of public library’s in our area two have closed for lack of funds, there are news stories that some others will be consolidated into the main library,with the closing of boarders and other book stores, and considering that not all citizens have access to the Internet much less a kindle. Some one is being left out.

  2. Eileen, It’s a very good question! You’ll need to ask the folks at Amazon how their licensing works. Good luck!

  3. Actually taking out e-books is more restrictive than taking out regular books, at least in our system. No renewals. They just stop working at the due date. Publishers are charging libraries for these, just as they charge them for hard copies. Some, like Harper Roe, are even more stingy — they limit the amount of times a library can loan the e-books.

    In any case, it is the fat cat publishers making the money, not the writers.

  4. Sandra,

    Libraries are allowed to purchase a limited number of lends from the publishing house. So, for example, if they purchase 150 lends, then once the book has been checked out 150 times, it no longer exists in the library’s catalog, unless they purchase another license – that’s how the publishers are still making their money.
    In fact, in the long-term, publishers are making more off of the e-books than they were traditional books because a library could buy three copies of a standard book and keep it forever; not so with the digital editions. And based on what our public library has said, they’re not getting much of a discount on digital books.

    Our library allows you to check out a book for 2 weeks and then it automatically stops working on your E-reader. We are not allowed to renew them, but if we want to check it out again and it is available (with no wait list) we may do so.

  5. I don’t get it. How are authors/Kindle/anybody making money if I can just perpetually “take out” an e-book (that retains all of my notes, no less!) as many times as I want? I feel like e-books are still at the height of their popularity with people happy to pay the small fee to download them, I don’t see why we have to rob authors of those profits. Seems wrong.

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