Kindles and Library Loans

Amazon announced today that later this year, you’ll be able to check out books for a period of time from over 11,000 libraries.

Granted, Kindle is available on a number of devices, not just the Kindle reader itself.

This is a clear win-win for Amazon and consumers. I’m not sure how it will play with authors, publishers, or competitors (Apple and Barnes and Noble).

A number of tech authors are suggesting that Amazon will also release a tablet in the near future. Time will only tell about that, but it’s clear that Amazon wants to dominate the eBook market. With its pricing and library lending, it will be hard not to purchase a Kindle, even though I have an iPad. John Gruber, I believe, predicted the possibility of a free Kindle in the near future. I’d sign up for that–even if ads were included.

I also like the promise this program has for educational libraries, as well as the checkout of textbooks by an institution. It also has potential for music libraries! The ability to lend an item for a pre-determined length of time, paired with the ability to only lend so many (legally purchased) copies at one time, makes a lot of sense.

Still–I don’t want a system where every publisher has their own app–there needs to be a universal approach, like the Amazon Kindle. It will be interesting to watch the library lending feature develop over the next months–as well as to note the effectiveness of the program (Does everyone who wants to read a book eventually get to read it?). Furthermore, what about similar services for movies and music (Our local library allows you to check out both of these).

And will this system work with Interlibrary Loan (ILL), which was a lifesaver in my Master’s and Doctoral programs?


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