[Web4lib] Kindle Lending

Coral Sheldon-Hess coral at sheldon-hess.org
Thu Oct 28 19:14:28 EDT 2010

I apologize if I'm a little off the main point, but I think this is
important: libraries are already involved in the ebook and ereader market,
for instance through Sony's Overdrive service, which works with Sony Readers
and Nooks. Amazon isn't playing nicely, that I know of--I am hoping that
their next software update will work with Overdrive, but I have my doubts. I
would argue that we should be rewarding Sony and B&N for their willingness
to work with us, not buying Kindles. (I did my part. I love my Sony Reader.)

I agree with Laura that the fairest model is probably the one that
approximates p-books. That's what Overdrive uses: if I see a book I want, I
have to put a hold on it and wait, just like I would with any other library
material. When my two weeks are over, my book goes away. And that works fine
for me. I haven't tried to check out the same book multiple times, so I'm
not sure if that's supported; none of the documentation has implied that it
wouldn't be, though.

I believe netLibrary also offers this kind of functionality, and I know you
can download PDFs of the ebooks in IEEE Xplore, which should work on most

So we're getting there. We just need to keep pushing--perhaps in part by
taking an ebook provider's openness into account when making collection
development decisions.

Coral Sheldon-Hess
Web Services Librarian
UAA/APU Consortium Library
Anchorage, AK

On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 6:29 AM, Laura Krier <laura.krier at gmail.com> wrote:

> I think neither of these positions (ebook readers are awesome vs.
> ebook readers are the devil) really tell the whole story. I agree with
> Tim that, at this juncture, ebook readers are troublesome for
> libraries because we are being forcibly pushed out of the distribution
> channels. There are no acceptable library routes to lend ebooks, and
> there should be. The doctrine of first sale should apply to ebooks,
> but because we weren't actively a part of the development of these
> models, they were designed in a way to allows sharing to be shut down
> from the beginning. And why would publishers voluntarily want to
> change that?
> However, ereaders as devices are great, for a number of reasons
> (including those mentioned in Robert's last post). It's a hugely
> growing avenue for how people read. I personally come close to buying
> one almost every day. And I think if libraries don't seriously start
> to advocate for better sharing models, we'll be in trouble. I think we
> need to use whatever clout we have to start loudly shouting for
> library models for digital books.
> The problem might be that there are so many positions in the library
> world on what that sharing model should look like. Personally, I think
> the closer it looks to the print sharing model, the better (i.e. a
> copy can be loaned any number of times, but is unavailable to other
> patrons while it's checked out; patrons don't get to keep a copy).
> Either way, if we don't start pushing back against being shut out of
> this part of the distribution model for books, we're screwed.
> One of my colleagues suggested once, in a very off-the-cuff way, that
> we should just start digitizing all of our own print books and
> creating our own digital libraries. Legally, he thinks first sale
> doctrine could potentially guide us, and that if a big enough
> consortium started a project like this there might be enough strength
> that a legal battle wouldn't be devastating to the library group. I
> have not been able to stop thinking of this idea in the months since.
> I think there's really something to it, but the longer we wait to make
> a move, the more entrenched the publishers' ideas about ebooks as a
> format will become. Didn't all those libraries Google worked with to
> create Google Books get their own copies of the digital files? What
> restrictions are there on what they can do with them? Does anyone
> know?
> I think we talk about this a lot, but I haven't personally need a lot
> of real action, and advocacy for libraries in this area yet. What are
> the next steps we need to take to put ourselves back in the picture?
> Laura
> On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 6:02 AM, Robert Balliot <rballiot at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Really?
> >
> > We gave my 70 something mother a Kindle for her birthday.  I think it
> > was the 3g type.
> >
> > She loves it.
> > She brings it with her.
> > She can easily read the type.
> > The books are relatively inexpensive.
> > The device is very lightweight.
> > It does not require directed lighting.
> > She does not need to drive to the library to pick up materials or check
> them in.
> >
> > If she uses LibraryThing and creates a book club group, she could
> > share titles nationwide.
> >
> > How is that not exponentially better?
> >
> > R. Balliot
> > http://oceanstatelibrarian.com
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 12:01 AM, Tim Spalding <tim at librarything.com>
> wrote:
> >> Look, strictly speaking, this doesn't affect libraries whatsoever.
> >> Non-personal use of Kindles is expressly prohibited under their terms.
> >> Some libraries are playing with Kindle lending, ignoring the
> >> prohibition and hoping nobody notices. Eventually publishers and
> >> Amazon will take action, much as British Publishers did recently in
> >> cracking down on distance lending of ebooks.
> >>
> >> The situation is simple. Publishers want to restrict library lending
> >> of ebooks, unless they can recoup retail-like money for each rental.
> >> They The first sale doctrine allowed libraries to buy books on the
> >> same terms as anyone else, and lend them out like nobody else
> >> did--extracting significantly higher value from them. Publishers and
> >> authors never really liked that arrangement, and now that they have a
> >> licensed good to sell, they can stop it. People who think publishers
> >> will allow libraries to buy and lend ebooks as before are kidding
> >> themselves.
> >>
> >> As far as users go, the full details aren't available, but it is said
> >> to resemble the B&N "lending" which:
> >>
> >> * Only applies to some titles, at the publisher's discretion (which is
> >> constrained by author rights agreements).
> >> * Can only be done once per title, for two weeks.
> >>
> >> This isn't "exponentially more valuable," even to a solitary consumer.
> >> It's marginally more valuable than previous ebook licenses, and
> >> exponentially less free than non-digital book rights.
> >>
> >> Lastly, and with respect, I want to express profound confusion why
> >> librarians would promote a device that cuts libraries out, and that
> >> incorporates monitoring and censorship mechanisms profoundly counter
> >> to often-expressed ethical standards. That ebook cut libraries out is
> >> clear to me, but I acknowledge some don't agree. But look at the
> >> privacy issue. A few years ago many librarians went mad over the
> >> prospect that the federal government might make requests for check-out
> >> records for individual patrons suspected of terrorism. I have seen no
> >> outrage as over promoting devices that continually monitor and record
> >> everything you read, when you read it, who you shared it with, and
> >> every annotation you make, and put it in a cloud-based service—which
> >> triggers a lower standard of legal protection—under control of a
> >> company in no way responsive to library ethics.
> >>
> >> Sincerely,
> >> Tim
> >>
> >> On Sat, Oct 23, 2010 at 5:09 PM, Robert Balliot <rballiot at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>> First we had the gigantic price drop in Kindles, now they become
> >>> exponentially more valuable as sharing devices:
> >>>
> >>> http://bit.ly/8YzWu7
> >>>
> >>> How will this impact lending libraries - public and academic?  A pooled
> list
> >>> of books using a book club could create a dynamic shared resource, not
> >>> unlike the public library model.
> >>>
> >>> R. Balliot
> >>> http://oceanstatelibrarian.com
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> Web4lib mailing list
> >>> Web4lib at webjunction.org
> >>> http://lists.webjunction.org/web4lib/
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> Check out my library at http://www.librarything.com/profile/timspalding
> >>
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
> >
> --
> Laura Krier
> http://www.lauraek.net
> http://kitchenilliterate.wordpress.com
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