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Amazon To Offer Kindle ebooks Via Public Libraries

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the adapt-or-die dept.

Books 126

destinyland writes "Amazon announced this morning that they're making Kindle ebooks available for free in America through 11,000 local public libraries. 'We're thrilled that Amazon is offering such a new approach to library ebook...' said one Seattle librarian, and one Kindle blog listed out the top advantages to having them available in libraries."

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Not in the US (0)

Nathan Campos (2369774) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471580)

That's very nice. Sadly I'm not in the US, so I can't get the ebooks from a public library and have all those advantages :(

Re:Not in the US (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471944)

Sounds like you have a nice oppurtunity. You have a known proven buisness with no competition.

Re:Not in the US (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473262)

Yeah, that seems to be a recurring pattern for me too - outside of the US = not eligible to access some Amazon Kindle titles period (like the full set of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), buy some products from Amazon store (Tachyon HD Micro for example), be eligible for their free shipping, watch Hulu (or a billion other video streaming services), access good half of Netflix titles... you name it. If you ask me - that's US companies missing out on business, while consumers have to suffer... for whatever reason.

Re:Not in the US (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473816)

Well, I'd guess starting a business that complies with US laws would be difficult enough. I'm glad I don't have to build one that complies with 194 legal customs and intellectual property laws. So from that point it's understandable, albeit still sad. (I'm outside the US myself)

What about 1984? (4, Funny)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471592)

I presume the service will automatically delete the books a week after borrowing?

Re:What about 1984? (4, Informative)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471670)

Considering it's just Overdrive, which has been around for a while now, yes, libraries have set lending periods. Mine is a choice of 7, 14, or 21 days. Yes, they do automatically get "deleted" (actually they just stop working, at least for ePub titles), but you can re-borrow them if you'd like. The bigger issue is with publishers imposing artificial scarcity on digital titles, forcing libraries to purchase a new copy after it's been borrowed a certain number of times (in order to maintain the same revenue stream they have with dead-tree books, which actually degrade).

Re:What about 1984? (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471998)

Or you can get rid of the DRM using this nifty python script. http://bit.ly/9zGL5W [bit.ly] Once the DRM is gone, then its a vanilla epub file which works anywhere including ipad/iphone/itouch

Re:What about 1984? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472308)

But not Kindle

Re:What about 1984? (1)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472504)

Huh? Why not?

If you're just talking about it being an epub file (which I'd be slightly surprised if the books you can borrow on Kindle are DRM'd epub's, but maybe they are - I'm too lazy to research that):

Calibre.

If you're already going through the trouble of running something to strip DRM, pumping that through an format conversion is almost zero extra work by comparison. You don't even need to install anything if you use one of the many online services to do it.

Not sure why you said "But not Kindle". They won't run as an app on iPhone either, and none of the popular epub eink readers will read a mobi file either, but that doesn't mean you can't do a very very simple conversion and read it perfectly fine on those devices (iPhone via installing an epub reader app; Kindle by converting $source_format_x to mobi or pdf or images (comic books); Nook + others by converting $whatever_format to epub).

Re:What about 1984? (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472606)

The kindle library books wont be DRMed epub. Instead they will be DRMed version of whatever kindle supports (AZW I guess)

Re:What about 1984? (1)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472846)

And there are scripts (and calibre plugins) to do that as well. So it's no different than before.

Re:What about 1984? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474116)

Yup. In fact if I want to borrow a library book I can already do it on epub and use the Adobe equivalents to scrub it and Calibre to convert to mobi.

If people could get this stuff working with audio doing it with text is pretty trivial.

Re:What about 1984? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473164)

Convert it with Calibre. http://calibre-ebook.com/

Re:What about 1984? (3, Insightful)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471688)

On another note: would you rather they didn't expire so you can pay exorbitant late fees?

Re:What about 1984? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472898)

You do realize that 1984 was zapped because Amazon found out the publisher wasn't authorized to distribute it, and thus Amazon was not authorized to distribute it?
(something about it being out of copyright in some countries)

It could have been any random book, and they apologized and (supposedly) took measures so that such mass deletions will not occur again if a similar situation presents itself.

Re:What about 1984? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37474916)

You do realize the reason doesn't matter because of the sheer hilarity that the book was 1984 - a book all about Big Brother?

That hasn't been already done ? (1)

Zilog (932422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471596)

With tech tools, the better way to create envy for something you're selling is to give a try to your futurs consumers.

Re:That hasn't been already done ? (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471898)

Barnes and Nobles has been doing this for some time now. In fact BN has used this in their advertising.

Re:That hasn't been already done ? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473098)

Yep. It works pretty well , too. The only real problem is that the libraries are stupidly limited to a certain quantity of each book. So if someone else has "checked out" the e-book you want, you can't have it. What was a real limitation of physical books being loaned, has become a gimped feature of electronic books. Of course, it's not B&N's fault... the publishers simply don't know what to do with e-books at all. That's why you see them priced higher than physical hardcovers a lot of the time.

I'll take my Nook over the Kindle any day. ;)

Re:That hasn't been already done ? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473694)

has become a gimped feature of electronic books

But do you expect the publishers to let the library have an unlimited number of copies for one flat fee? (Flat fee, regardless of the # of copies read.)

Or do you expect the library (and thus me, the taxpayer) to pay per e-book checkout? I don't expect that there are always N checkouts, regardless of what titles are available. If some new title becomes available, I suspect there are/would be a lot more checkouts of that particular title, compared to total checkouts in an average time period... That would make the library run out of money sooner.

Is there a list of the libraries? (1, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471630)

I would be curious to see if my library system is on it. And I know damn well that they don't update their website except maybe once a year.

Re:Is there a list of the libraries? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37471710)

This would be through the Overdrive Media Service... and yes there is a list of participating libraries http://www.overdrive.com/About/Partners.aspx#Libraries . I work for a Public Library that does participate and it is a very useful service. OMS has had compatibility with all but Kindle up until now.

Re:Is there a list of the libraries? (2)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472028)

Be warned that search tool is apparently clunky. I searched for my city/state and was told "no matches." Backing up I tried our zip code and my local library showed right up along with two others in the area. I'd recommend sticking with zip code.

Re:Is there a list of the libraries? (3, Informative)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472550)

I've found that the classic search is much better: http://search.overdrive.com/classic/ [overdrive.com]

Re:Is there a list of the libraries? (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471904)

Check you library's web site. All you need is a library card and pin.

On Overdrive Site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473434)

To see if your library is included, click on your country/state/province at: http://search.overdrive.com/classic/

Mr Cynic here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37471642)

So, libraries having limited resources will buy titles in one maybe two formats. And considering the popularity of ereaders, I'm guessing that Kindle versions of titles will be purchased with the books on tape version - no expensive printed books. Which means, if I want to read some of those titles, I'll have to buy a Kindle. It's not like they'll buy Kindles for patrons use and if they do, they'll have to be kept on the premises.

So, this is just a way for Amazon to sell more Kindles.

None of you thought they were doing this for the public good, did you?

Re:Mr Cynic here (1)

E-Rock (84950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471724)

The thing I like about the Kindle is that it's software as well as the hardware device. I have a Kindle app on my phone, desktop, laptop, and tablet, but no hardware from Amazon.

I think they're more interested in the part where you can press a button and buy the book from Amazon and keep your bookmarks and annotations.

Re:Mr Cynic here (1)

fruity_pebbles (568822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471732)

Overdrive offers library e-books in several formats. All the books I browsed through at my library today were offered in Kindle, ePub, and PDF.

Re:Mr Cynic here (1)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471754)

So, libraries having limited resources will buy titles in one maybe two formats. And considering the popularity of ereaders, I'm guessing that Kindle versions of titles will be purchased with the books on tape version - no expensive printed books. Which means, if I want to read some of those titles, I'll have to buy a Kindle. It's not like they'll buy Kindles for patrons use and if they do, they'll have to be kept on the premises.

So, this is just a way for Amazon to sell more Kindles.

None of you thought they were doing this for the public good, did you?

Except that isn't what's happening. That one copy (or two, or however many for popular novels) the library buys will, as I understand it, be available in any format, but only one of them checked out at a time, of course. If the book's in, you can choose your format and go. There's no "I'll have to buy a kindle" or "I'll have to buy X e-reader".

Re:Mr Cynic here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37471770)

Oh no, a business wants to make money!

Re:Mr Cynic here (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471912)

Amazon provides Kindle client apps on practically all platforms today - even WP7 and webOS have them. And now they also have a "cloud reader" [amazon.com] that works in any WebKit browser.

Amazon's business model with respect to Kindle and associated services seems to be about making money on book sales, not making money on Kindles. Which also explains why they keep pushing the price on the device down steadily over the last few years. With this program, I'd imagine that library books would automatically expire after a set date, and you'll be given an option to buy the book if you want to continue reading. Also, it'll probably also offer you to buy the book if all "copies" are already checked out at the library.

No reader needed (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471930)

If they are using Overdrive, you don't need a reader. The app works on your PC, smart phone, notebook, whatever.

Re:Mr Cynic here (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471960)

Amazon doesn't particularly care if you buy a Kindle. At the prices they're charging, it's doubtful that their profit margin is very high.

They want you to *have* an Kindle, or Kindle software, so that you will buy Kindle books. *That* they care about.

just a way for Amazon to sell more Kindles (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474052)

Ok, and that is a problem how? That is part of their business model, selling the 'portal' to more sales.

As long as they don't pull anything funny with the libraries its a good thing.

Congratulations Amazon (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37471648)

Congratulations Amazon! You now offer a service that ALL OF THE OTHER ereader sellers have been able to take advantage of for years! B&N, Sony, Kobo, Bookeen, etc...

Re:Congratulations Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37471786)

Congratulations Amazon! You now offer a service that ALL OF THE OTHER ereader sellers have been able to take advantage of for years! B&N, Sony, Kobo, Bookeen, etc...

It really has taken them a while to get this up and running. On the other hand, all other vendors still need to catch up to Amazon's confluence of media selection and prices, ease of self-publishing, cost of physical device, synced notes and bookmarks, and cross-platform clients.

Re:Congratulations Amazon (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471970)

B&N has most of that.

Re:Congratulations Amazon (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472392)

I thought they went bankrupt?

Re:Congratulations Amazon (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472510)

No that was Borders.

Re:Congratulations Amazon (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471916)

Congratulations Amazon! You now offer a service that ALL OF THE OTHER ereader sellers have been able to take advantage of for years! B&N, Sony, Kobo, Bookeen, etc...

Of course, we don't know what was going on behind the scenes. It could've been analogous to how other digital music retailers (e.g. Amazon) were able to offer DRM-free music before Apple did, because the powers-that-be behind the scenes were trying to weaken Apple's hold on the market.

I wouldn't be surprised if the big publishers were holding out on Amazon for as long as they could because they felt Amazon has too much sway in the current ebook market.

Re:Congratulations Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37472298)

They have no sway in the ebook market despite being by far the most popular device maker. The publishers control the prices of the content. Have you not noticed the massive increase in ebook prices? It costs more for a tiny text file than it does to get a massive hardback.

Re:Congratulations Amazon (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472448)

To be fair, I don't think that anyone with even a slight interest in e-books isn't aware that the kindle was the only holdout for overdrive. I'm happy it finally happened, while still very aware of the fact that it's been an absurdly long time to get here.

Control (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471706)

Nothing exposes the primitive nature of profit quite like the arbitrary rules that govern the copying of easily copied information.

As an aside: Somebody is getting paid; library books are by no means free. That is the great deception propagated by social programs: "The benefits are free."

Why Local Libraries? (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471720)

I don't really understand why this system should work long term. What benifet does the local library add to a website where you borrow books? I would think you could cut the libraries out of the equation and not lose anything.

Re:Why Local Libraries? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37471768)

The local libraries are the ones footing the bill.

Re:Why Local Libraries? (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471940)

And the bill is a lot smaller with ebooks.

Re:Why Local Libraries? (1)

roblarky (1103715) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472668)

Plus, since libraries are public funded, this may help to justify them when they run the reports of how many citizens are using their services. Much like someone said in the Comcast thread; I don't personally use public libraries, but for reasons of which I am uncertain, I feel they're important and should stick around.

Re:Why Local Libraries? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473064)

All too true. I was a professional librarian for years. The MILLIONS of federal and state tax dollars that go into this welfare program for the literate are no longer justifiable. The buildings, staff and other costs are very high, and there is no longer a benefit to society. We could simply fund a Kindle into the hands of each user and be done with it.

Re:Why Local Libraries? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474146)

I support the concept of libraries. However, I do agree that in the modern age they could be consolidated tremendously with technology. There is no reason to have stacks of books that need to be sorted every day when you could just download them. I'm sure for the cost of maintaining the local libraries a state could just buy an e-book reader for every citizen...

So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (0, Flamebait)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471826)

Speaking as someone in the last stages of preparing content for publication, I'm seriously leaning towards dropping plans for a Kindle edition because of this.

Letting libraries check out books is certainly a useful thing. The mere fact that a library is interested enough in your title to buy a copy is an indication of its quality, and has the potential to drive future sales by exposing more people to your book. However, unless there's a part of the equation that Amazon isn't telling us, this new policy completely destroys the value part of that equation from an author or publisher's perspective.

Previously, if those 11,000 libraries wanted to be able to lend my book, I would have gotten 11,000 sales. Now, if I interpret this correctly, all those people checking out the book translate into zero sales. In effect, Amazon is declaring that it has the right to loan copies of your book to anyone for free without you seeing a penny. This not only cuts the legs right out from under your current book sales, but also all future book sales unless you refuse to publish a Kindle version of your next book.

Worse, for those of us who are anti-DRM, we're completely screwed. I don't want DRM on my books, period, because it limits my readers' options for viewing content that they paid for. However, if my readers aren't paying for it, and are instead using a gratis lending model, a DRM-free book basically means that there's nothing stopping someone from checking it out, copying it to a new file, checking it back in, and basically getting the book for free. And unlike downloading it through bittorrent or whatever, because they obtained it through a legal channel, there is no way to track that behavior, no way to police it, and it isn't even all that easy to explain to users why it is wrong, or under what circumstances it is wrong. So books would have to be DRM-encumbered for lending purposes, and it's not clear if Amazon provides any such distinction, nor is it clear if it is even technically feasible for them to make such a distinction within their current model.

And finally, for the ultimate kick in the teeth, the Kindle edition of any book is inherently a substandard experience compared with the EPUB version because Kindle's support for HTML and CSS is utterly abysmal. This means that if I produce a Kindle edition, the vast majority of the readers of my books are likely to be able to freeload without me seeing a penny, and they will be disinclined to buy future content because the current content won't look as good as it should.

So explain to me again why I should support Kindle at all. At this point, despite the fact that I've wasted a week hacking a copy of my EPUB books to look marginally acceptable on Kindle, I'm strongly leaning towards writing off those extra hours as an unfortunate mistake unless Amazon provides clarification of their policy in a way that assuages these concerns. I will, of course, release EPUB versions for more functional readers like iPad, and (if Adobe fixes the four or five major CSS bugs I filed, including one potential security hole/crasher) possibly Nook.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (2)

MBCook (132727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471932)

This is a service called Overdrive which has been around for quite a while. My understanding is that each library has to "buy" the eBooks, and can only lend out each of their "copies" that they "purchased". They can't lend out 2000 copies of a book if they only bought 3. It's basically setup to mirror the physical book model.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473190)

This is a service called Overdrive which has been around for quite a while. My understanding is that each library has to "buy" the eBooks, and can only lend out each of their "copies" that they "purchased". They can't lend out 2000 copies of a book if they only bought 3. It's basically setup to mirror the physical book model.

Which is unfortunate, because the local public library system typically buys only 1 electronic copy per work, despite being one of the larger systems in the nation. So everything worth reading is backlogged 10-20 people.

It would have made more sense to buy a block of licenses from the publisher or from a clearing house, overall.

Then again, it would have made more sense if you didn't have to route the book through a specific brand of OS just to get it into the patron's ebook reader.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

PopeScott (1343031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471946)

I have borrowed books from the library that I went on to buy.
And honestly most people do not take advantage of the library. You wont be losing many sales. If any.
I sort of feel like I should have just called you a dick and been done with it. Any author who would essentially say F the Library is a dick.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (3, Insightful)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471956)

The libraries buy the books they lend, including ebooks. If they buy five copies, they can only lend five copies at a time. So, if 11,000 libraries are lending your book, there should be at least 11,000 sales to you. You imply that you are already publishing electronically, so why don't you already know this?

You should have spent the time typing your long-winded response to actually researching the topic.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473568)

May be he hasn't even gotten one sales since none of the libraries actually want his book.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475302)

Hes just an idiot.

Tho, don't libraries still get a discount on what they purchase? "oh no, i wont publish in print either beacuse its not fair"

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471966)

You are still selling to the libraries. There is nothing different from selling a dead tree book. The same lending policies apply to ebooks as to regular books.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471986)

11 thousand views of your book is 11 thousand more people who know of it versus zero who know about it at all or care.

All removing your book from kindle will do, is reduce your market, sadly. Amazon may have retarded DRM (and it does, and all ebooks do - Nook is just as horrid) - but at least it's an additional market to your book. 11 thousand now have access, somewhere in there is more than 0 sales for you - yes, amazon makes more money here. That is why you *never* rely on a publisher or 3rd party that has full control of your information anyway. All they do is limit the market for their own profit.

Nobody said you have to do an epub version, but it is simply an additional option for you. Or you could make your book available in some format that people can put into an ebook reader in the first place.

What other formatting are you using other than epub, anyway?

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472004)

Maybe you should be writing for the sake of telling a story or spreading information instead of worrying about sales because you see it as a way to make money.

The only to make money by writing these days is to create gutter trash fantasy novels aimed at overweight teenage girls and illiterate adults.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472836)

Bah. There's nothing inherently wrong with writing for the purpose of making money. As you note it's generally not nearly as efficient as a lot of other methods of earning money, but "writing for the sake of the art" isn't all it's cracked up to be, either.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472010)

Uhh no. Those libraries each have to purchase the book for their local collection. So you would still get 11,000 library sales. Only participating publishers books are available for the libraries to purchase. This isn't copyright infringment.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473756)

Thanks. See that's the sort of information that the Amazon press release should have contained. If it had said, "Local libraries can lend any book that they have on their shelves electronically in a Kindle edition", I wouldn't have jumped to a very wrong conclusion. Instead, the article said Amazon "is making Kindle ebooks available for free in America through 11,000 local public libraries." I'm not sure how to read that sentence other than the way I read it, and the Amazon press release did nothing to change my interpretation of that sentence.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475164)

Hmm. Let's see. First line of the press release (which in this case is the article): "Amazon.com today announced that Kindle and Kindle app customers can now borrow Kindle books from more than 11,000 local libraries in the United States." I fail to see how "borrowing books from libraries" is substantially different from "libraries lending books" other than point of view.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475348)

Amazon "is making Kindle ebooks available for free to the borrowers in America through 11,000 local public libraries." I'm not sure how to read that sentence other than the way I read it, and the Amazon press release did nothing to change my interpretation of that sentence.

That's how I read it. I don't think that's an unreasonable inference as it's how libraries currently work and Amazon wouldn't do well to go with a self-destructive lending model.

Call me an optimist, I guess.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472072)

Where does this or any other article say that Overdrive isn't buying the books through payments to the publishers? Because this is through Overdrive and because of the description of the changes to Whispersync, I'm more inclined to think these books are provided from Overdrive themselves and Amazon has simply provided this already-existing library service to push their books to Kindles. Either way, the library of works available goes through Overdrive, not through Amazon. Overdrive has explicit, direct partnerships with the publishers of the content the serve.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473544)

Where did this article mention overdrive? The summary says that Amazon is "making Kindle books available for free". Neither the Slashdot article nor the Amazon press release provided any indication that authors would get paid for this in any way. So my reaction is exactly what Amazon should expect from anyone who isn't already familiar with Overdrive and how they operate....

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

virg_mattes (230616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472092)

Previously, if those 11,000 libraries wanted to be able to lend my book, I would have gotten 11,000 sales. Now, if I interpret this correctly, all those people checking out the book translate into zero sales.

These two sentences don't go together. If a library wants a lending copy, it would buy it. There are your 11,000 sales. Then (whether dead tree or data) they lend out their copy. You wouldn't get sales from lent paper copies any more than you get them from data copies, so all those people checking it out would mean zero sales for hard copies as well. Only people who liked it enough to buy it after they got it from the library would pay for a hard copy, and those people can buy a Kindle copy as well. You could make the argument that every single borrower who checks it out will steal it, but I'd have to see some proof that that's the case before I'd buy it. If someone checks a book out of the library and then likes it so much that they decide they want a copy to reread, it stands to reason that they'd want to support you by buying that copy. It may make it easier to steal the book, but that would be true for every eReader anyway.

Virg

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (2)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473084)

Furthermore, if someone is going to pirate an ebook, why would they bother going through their library's website? I'm sure a few people will do this, thinking that they are somehow doing something "more ethical" or whatever (I've heard this argument from people who check out CDs and rip MP3s as opposed to just torrenting the albums), but it's not going to be very many. Why put up with the extra hassles?

If I had to take a guess, I'd say that the vast majority of people borrowing ebooks through their local library wouldn't even know what DRM is, let alone how to go about removing it.

Best thing for authors (such as GP) to remember when publishing electronically: the people who are going to pay for your content will pay for it if the quality is there. The people who are going to pirate it aren't likely to buy it at any price and aren't even worth worrying about.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472178)

That isn't what this says at all. Nowhere did it say that Amazon was giving your books away for free. Did you even read the article? They're teaming up with libraries using a service they were already using and making it more convenient to use with the Kindle. That's it. They're giving free Kindle VERSIONS of books available through the over drive service.

Chill out. Seriously. I can't believe you produced such a huge rant on so little information.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37472566)

>Chill out. Seriously. I can't believe you produced such a huge rant on so little information.

He's a writer.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473588)

Did you even read the article?

Yes, I did. Nowhere in the Slashdot article or the press release or the blog entry did Amazon say anything about teaming up with anyone, much less the name of the service. Go read it again.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475246)

Slashdot doesn't have articles, it has summaries, which generally should not be relied on as the sole source of information. In addition, the press release has a link 'for more information' in the very first paragraph. And that page has a bullet which says "Visit the website of a U.S. library that offers digital services from OverDrive." I would think that as a writer you would know that summaries and press releases seldom contain all the information someone would like to know about a subject.

In the time it took you to write your little rant you could have found out that not only is this service provided by OverDrive, but also that:

OverDrive was a founding member of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). Established in 2000, the IDPF promotes the development of electronic publishing applications and products that will benefit creators of content, makers of reading systems, and consumers, including the industry standard EPUB format.

Yeah, sounds like they are really out to screw authors.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37472530)

See Neil Gaiman's take on e-book piracy, then re-think your stance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wXNlI

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472604)

Previously, if those 11,000 libraries wanted to be able to lend my book, I would have gotten 11,000 sales.

This may seem like a minor nit, but as someone who has depended on it in the past, I have to mention that you're completely ignoring inter-library loans. The number of books paid for depends more on the borrowing load than on the number of institutions involved in the lending -- and I'm talking about paper, not etexts.

I'm pretty sure there will be some kind of compensation model here.

Also note that Amazon isn't the first to do this. They are in no way blazing new territory here. They're partnering with OverDrive, and OverDrive has been lending out etexts for a while now. It's just that in the past, they were EPUB or PDF format with Adobe's DRM, and so were largely unavailable to Kindle users specifically (but Sony and Nook and iOS users could already get 'em).

http://www.overdrive.com/ [overdrive.com]

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472674)

Speaking as someone in the last stages of preparing content for publication, I'm seriously leaning towards dropping plans for a Kindle edition because of this.

Maybe you could tell us the name of your book? You give the impression that it has been very thoroughly researched, and provides an insightful look at something or other.

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473934)

It's a work of fiction, though it is pedantically researched in a lot of areas.

If I took the time to research my Slashdot posts to the same degree that I research my novels, I wouldn't have time to post. Or write, for that matter. Or do my day job. Just saying. :-)

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473016)

Are you aware that the library lending program is administered through OverDrive, not directly through Amazon? Are you also aware that it is opt-in only on a per-title basis?

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

xclr8r (658786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473030)

The library is a marketing arm for you - if it buys your book it will publicize it as a new acquisition. People are also impatient they got this newsletter from their library on the new release but it is currently checked out at the moment.. time to buy it online.

People who like a book after reading it from library will buy it for themselves or as gift for someone. I've bought 3 books off Amazon as gifts for others in the past year because I was exposed to them in the library one of which had an $80 price tag. I would have never seen or heard about the book and it would have been off my radar.. instead it helped me give a great gift that the recipient really appreciated and helped the author with another sale.

I can't speak to the experience of epub vs.kindle but more exposure is usually not a bad thing and owners of the kindle apparently like the device. Freeloaders freeload... You won't sell to them regardless of platform and if you have spent anytime on slashdot and read an RIAA/MPAA/Gaming Torrent thread you would already be aware of this dynamic (I'm neither supporting or admonishing this behaviour. Just pointing out that it exists).

Re:So Amazon is violating copyrights en masse? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475270)

Speaking as someone in the last stages of preparing content for publication, I'm seriously leaning towards dropping plans for a Kindle edition because of this.

Good.

For Canadian customers (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37471872)

FYI for Canadians waiting to borrow eBooks for the Kindle from their local library, I received the following response from the Kindle feedback team:

[...]

At this time, public library books for Kindle are currently only available for libraries in the U.S. that offer digital services from OverDrive. Don't worry, our Kindle Team is working on having this feature available to libraries outside the U.S. as well. We'll announce any updates on our website.

[...]

---- Original message: ----

From the Kindle/OverDrive press release, I see: "Visit the website of a U.S. library that offers digital services from OverDrive."

As a Canadian Kindle owner, I am very keen on being able to use this service with my local library (in this case, Toronto), which already supports OverDrive for other ebook readers. Often I am turned off paying $10 to $20 for a Kindle ebook when I don't know if I will like it; being able to try a great number of books from my local library will let me better decide which ebooks I want to purchase for my device.

Regards,

-Aikon

Re:For Canadian customers (1)

darnkitten (1533263) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473086)

If you are near the US border, cross over and find a library with Overdrive that will allow you to get a card (many rural libraries will--we need registered users). Sign up for your Overdrive account on one of the library's computers, and through the magic of the internet, you should be able to reserve and check them out from your computer at home.

Re:For Canadian customers (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473188)

If you are near the US border, cross over and find a library with Overdrive that will allow you to get a card (many rural libraries will--we need registered users). Sign up for your Overdrive account on one of the library's computers, and through the magic of the internet, you should be able to reserve and check them out from your computer at home.

Interesting idea! If a little fraudulent.. I would first want to make sure there was no way this could come back and affect my existing purchased items. In an ideal world this would be a no-brainer, but this is Amazon we're talking about =/

-Aikon

Re:For Canadian customers (1)

darnkitten (1533263) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474198)

I'm actually not even sure if it would work. It works between counties (in-state) and part-year residents in other states can use the service, because it's tagged to the library card/account in the particular library where you sign up. I don't know if it would lock you out if you logged in from a Canadian IP address. I assume you would have to have a US Amazon account, in addition to an Amazon.ca account, and you could probably use a US proxy, etc etc.

The existing system is set up to accommodate snowbirds and other part-year residents/vacationers: if you visit a town regularly, it becomes more of a pain to issue you yet another temp card than it would be to issue a permanent card. YMMV depending on the town and library.

control ot knowledge... (1)

stanjo74 (922718) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472188)

The knowledge of a civilization now in the hands of a corporation(s) thanks to DRM and a society that sold freedom for convenience.

Re:control ot knowledge... (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473206)

It was a society that had no choice; capital must find new places to invest and it sure won't stand by and watch the book market disappear. Indefinite 3% compound growth doesn't occur without some effort, after all.
Assuming that history has not ceased, we can shape a new system without many of these twisted behaviors, but we'll have to stand up and dismantle the old one first.

Nook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37472290)

Its nice that amazon has decided to offer this feature, but I have been reading library books on my nook since I bought it over a year ago.

retitle story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37472292)

Overdrive, which has been licensing books to public libraries for quite awhile now, now offers Kindle format, too.

Missed One Advantage (3, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472486)

one Kindle blog listed out the top advantages to having them available in libraries.

It is an interesting blog entry, that points out a bunch of the selfish little things that blogger gets out of it, but he missed one advantage:

It is in the long-term best interests of society to make works of science and the useful arts available for borrowing to all. In fact, broadening the reach of such information is the only reason we suffer copyright to exist in the first place. The profit creators are granted through the right of first sale is just a means to that end.

The amazing part of this story is not the wondrous new opportunity we have to borrow published materials from others after the first sale -- it is the chutzpah of the kleptocracy that kept it from happening on day one. And that selfish little kleptocrat blogger is no better. The point of this is not what it does for you, little man, it is what it does for society.

Re:Missed One Advantage (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473572)

How is having "books" licensed for use on an expensive electronic gadget from a single multinational corporation "broadening the reach of information"? Seems like it's limiting access to those who can afford or are willing to spend hundreds of dollars for the latest electronic gadget, and Internet access. Books are universally available to anybody now. This is a step in the wrong direction.

Re:Missed One Advantage (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474036)

$114 is an "expensive electronic gadget"? (Yes, that's for the ad-supported one.)

See the recent stories about what "the poor" actually have: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/07/what-is-poverty [heritage.org]

Re:Missed One Advantage (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474632)

Yes, it is expensive. It's expensive for many people. By your interest in the Heritage Foundation, I'm sure that you would find it hard to believe that there are people who are both unintentionally and intentionally poor, for whom $114 is a lot of money.

Re:Missed One Advantage (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475086)

I have no interest in the Heritage Foundation. That just seemed like the best link to the story that I found in a quick search.

Re:Missed One Advantage (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475468)

Even if you're poor like a stick $114 is much cheaper than 2000 books made out of dead trees.

Re:Missed One Advantage (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474310)

If your point is that the Kindle is, itself, a restricted medium and therefore a threat to increasing the breadth of information distribution, I can see your point. And I think we are fundamentally thinking in the same context; that the question is not how it affects any person or group of people, or even all people in the short run, but how it affects society in the long run. Since it creates a fiat restriction on the private actions of citizens, it must be justified by bedrock societal benefits.

If that is what you are saying, then I can see your point. I think though that it gets a little muddled with the statement, "Books are universally available to anybody now."

That statement seems to be saying that lending of electronic media would not expand the reach of science and the useful arts. I think that angle would fall somewhere between false and difficult to demonstrate -- more difficult to demonstrate than would be necessary to justify the fiat restriction on private actions of citizens. Further, unfortunately, it is currently the official position of the Librarian of Congress that electronic lending is, in fact, harmful to expanding the reach of science and the useful arts, and is therefore not covered by first sale doctrine. If that is what you are saying, that you think electronic lending should not be covered by first sale doctrine, then I cannot concur.

I think your post could benefit by being more clear about why you disagree. I am not even clear which side you are advocating.

Re:Missed One Advantage (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37474658)

I firmly believe that libraries moving towards E-Books is a bad thing. Libraries have limited resources, and if they start to move their resources towards "e-books", then they will slow or stop housing actual books. Books are universally accessible to anybody today, regardless of whether or not they own a particular electronic gadget. It would be a step backwards to make information available largely to those who have enough money to access it.

Re:Missed One Advantage (1)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37475392)

The reason that Open Source documentation is generally rubbish is that it's almost impossible to make a buck writing it. No bucks = no sustained effort. It you're happy for the majority of all textbooks to be written at the level of Open Source documentation, then by all means get rid of copyright and make it highly problematic for people to make a profession out of the production of textbooks. Your enlightened libetarian fantasy society won't happen if all the books are poorly written amateur screeds.

Been Using A Similar System for a While (2)

Liambp (1565081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37472942)

My local library has been offering ebook lending for several years. They recommend Overdrive but the drm is just Adobe so you can use any ebook reader which supports adobe drm. You download the book in encrypted format and you get a time limited license which allows you to read it. After the 3 week lending period expires you cannot read the book anymore. There also seems to be a lockout in place so that only a one person can read a given ebook at a time. That sounds pretty silly but I guess it is a requirement of the publisher.

Its a pretty good system and I like being able to browse from home but the selection is still fairly poor.

Dear owner of any ebook reader other than kindle, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37473458)

Go fuck yourself. (This goes for you blind people, too)

-- Amazon

Preserving 'Almost Free' (1)

Ragun (1885816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37473780)

There is such an incredible degree of irony in all this. Libraries were created with the idea that information should be free, but due to the physical cost of the book, we could only check books out for a small time. Now ebooks can be created for free, and we are doing the best we can to make sure they don't get too free. Its time to deal with the practically unbounded copy-write law, and make our libraries just websites that let you download public domain books.
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