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Librarian Attacks Amazon's Kindle Lending Program

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the ungrateful-whelps dept.

Books 191

destinyland writes "A California librarian is urging librarians to complain to Amazon over issues with privacy and advertising in Amazon's new Kindle ebook lending program for libraries. 'In our greedy attempt to get content into our users' hands, we have failed to uphold the highest principle of our profession, which is intellectual freedom,' she argues in a 10-minute video. (Read the transcript here). Amazon keeps your history of reading library ebooks on their corporate servers, 'so it's an instant violation of all of our privacy policies. And we haven't told people that, and we need to tell people that.' And while many libraries have strict policies against endorsing a particular product, the check-out process concludes on Amazon.com with a pitch urging library patrons to purchase more Amazon books — and there's even book-buying plugs in their 'due date' reminders."

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First Post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779286)

First Post

Re:First Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779484)

You win. At something. At last.

Re:First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779544)

He did win - he managed to get that moderated Informative... somehow.

Re:First Post! (0)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780040)

I want to award a +1 funny to whoever moderated it as a +1 informative.

As to the original poster of the "first post" comment- completely useless- I'm glad a moderator had a sense of humour about it though- made me chuckle.

So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (0)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779322)

I'm confused as to how it makes sense for Amazon to work with libraries if they cant even advertise.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779456)

I'm confused as to how it makes sense for Amazon to work with libraries if they cant even advertise.

How about letting libraries lend books directly from overdrive like the epub books ? or supporting epub format for kindle ? They can make all the money they want. Just not by advertising on eBook rentals which are purchased with public funds and have nothing to do with Amazon except for their dogged notion of not supporting epubs.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779472)

Libraries pay for books. And Amazon gets advertisement just from having their products used, but doesn't necessarily have to say "Go buy our book!"

Although it does not seem inconsistent with library policies not to endorse, at least no more so than selling a regular book is, because regular books have advertisements by other books by the author, etc...--some older books [and magazines] even have order forms in them.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779548)

The whole thing is a nonissue really. Ever been to a public library? You will see lots and lots of blacks, almost as many as you will see in a welfare line. They spent all their money on drugs and rims for their cars and designer clothes and now theyre too poor to get their own books and internet access. Shit at a library around here there is a small kitchen area and there were lots of blacks using the stove as if they didn't have their own. Might as well stick the white taxpayer with the energy bill for their cooking, i mean fuck why not, food stamps bought the meal anyway and why stop there?

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779852)

Posts like this make me wince.

Though, I'm not surprised. From their description it seems they haven't EVER been inside a library. It's a public good, educate yourself.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780514)

Posts like that make me hope the poster gets a really horrific disease that doesn't kill him right away, but makes him linger. I wouldn't cross the street to piss on that poster if he was on fire.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781150)

This would qualify as a +1 troll post for the comments its brought out from people. But seriously, that may vary by city, but at least the libraries I know of are close to schools and students go there to study, especially when the home environment doesn't provide the proper resources. As to their future as brick and mortar book givers, lucky they picked up on computers and wifi when they did, I see more wifi users there than readers. The movie and music selections greatly vary, but that's a + too.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780002)

Libraries pay for books. And Amazon gets advertisement just from having their products used, but doesn't necessarily have to say "Go buy our book!"

Although it does not seem inconsistent with library policies not to endorse, at least no more so than selling a regular book is, because regular books have advertisements by other books by the author, etc...--some older books [and magazines] even have order forms in them.

I tried to untangle that double negative phrase .. but anyway .. consider this: You own a bookstore. Your local library, which you fund through taxes, has advertisements for Amazon popping up all over. Pissed, yet?

Libraries, as public entities, should show no favoritism or grant preferential placement/access to resources influenced by a directly related private business.

If the local painter wants to give the library a reduced rate on redecorating for the placement of a placard indicating the fine (or shoddy) work was performed by Local Painter, that's one thing, as it does not directly affect access to books/periodicals.

If you have to have an Amazon account to checkout ebooks on a kindle, that's a barrier. If the books include advertising for Amazon and their offerings of books, that is also a barrier.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780248)

True, local booksellers have a legitimate grievance, and one that is much more problematic with amazon than it was when it was only the publishers who were doing it and is much more problematic when people can buy from amazon immediately than when there was mail order.

But that difference is one of degree--an important difference of degree, I grant, and one which should be considered carefully, but still not a fundamental change of policy, when you think about it. Because books *Always* advertise. Sometimes de minimis by just having their imprint on them, but more frequently by listing other books by the author, and historically it was not uncommon to see order forms.

The double negative was there because it was in response to a negative. There was a complaint that it was inconsistent, so the double negative says not "it's consistent" but "it does not seem inconsistent," since it's disagreeing with the conclusion rather than undermining the conclusion. One indicates only that another conclusion is correct, whereas one indicates that that conclusion was wrong. The distinction may have little utility if "consistency" is considered in binary terms, aside from that it also says "they're wrong" rather than just "we're right and here's why." But on occasion the distinction matters, so it's not one I worry about unless I'm trying to be especially clear, as to a young child or a politician.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780572)

consider this: You own a bookstore. Your local library, which you fund through taxes, has advertisements for Amazon popping up all over. Pissed, yet?

Pissed at what?... my decision to have an antiquated business that still hasn't adapted to the 21st century? Or pissed that I wasn't smart enough to team up with Amazon to keep customers more interested in my store than the library?

Rewind 20 years, and bookstores and libraries had the same battle—only it was limited to publications that were made out of trees. Businesses, like everything [other that taxpayer-funded government entities], must evolve or go away.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (2)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781450)

Libraries lend DVDs that have advertisements for other movies etc on them. If I owned a blockbuster I'd be pissed about that too. Just playing devil's advocate...

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779918)

I think the Library's *pay for* each book they have the right to check out. That's how they make money.

Re:So amazon is supposed to just not make money? (1)

iisan7 (914423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781112)

Having the library books available boosts the device's usefulness = more sales. That should be enough reason.

So do the libraries (3, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779334)

Amazon keeps your history of reading library ebooks on their corporate servers

The libraries also keep a record of who has checked out what books. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to send you a notice saying you have overdue books.

They also are subject to FISA warrants (the "we can't tell you if your history has been subpoenaed") for your entire borrowing history.

Re:So do the libraries (3, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779416)

There's a difference between a record of the books you currently have out and a record of the books you've ever checked out.

Re:So do the libraries (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779558)

And libraries do too. GP is correct. This person is just a whinging hypocrite.

Re:So do the libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779798)

Not ALL libraries keep records of everything a person checks out.

Re:So do the libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779826)

No they do not, that isn't how catalogs even work. So quit lying you lying sack of shit.

Opt out policy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779994)

Orange County (Florida) libraries keep your entire history, but at least online you can delete specific books from your history and opt out.

Whether or not they store that somewhere else, I don't know.

I don't know if Amazon has an opt-out or not.

Re:So do the libraries (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780184)

Depends. Some libraries offer this service, but it's opt in.

Re:So do the libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780716)

They may, but they share it very grudgingly, and certainly not with commercial partners, government agencies without the appropriate paper, etc.

Most librarians, correctly, in my opinion, feel that the books one checks out could be used by any number of agencies to paint one in a certain light. Heck, there was an article on Slashdot a while ago about somebody the FBI tracked down because his research paper had him doing an inter-library loan to obtain an original copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book.

I forget WHY they knew he'd checked that out, but it's an example of what sharing one's reading material, or any other purchasing / viewing patterns can lead to.

Re:So do the libraries (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779430)

Yes, but the library would never use that information to try to sell you something, which apparently is the most offensive activity imaginable, if you are a librarian.

Re:So do the libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780270)

Yes, but the library would never use that information to try to sell you something, which apparently is the most offensive activity imaginable, if you are a librarian.

The idea that you can't figure out your wants and needs on your own, and would need some marketer to tell you what those are, really is a gigantic insult. Just because it is common and the passive sheeple "consumer" is promoted as normal (by marketers by the way) doesn't make it right.

It's sort of like Jim Crow laws and segretation from decades ago. They were widespread everyday practices. They were just the way things were. But they were completely fucked up. It took time for society to recognize that and end them. Marketers who tell us what we should want with a "lemme sell ya somethin" attitude are the same. They are supposed to respond to us. Corporations are there to serve us. They need to know their role.

Re:So do the libraries (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780888)

Yes, but the library would never use that information to try to sell you something

No... but they do alert the FBI if you take out any 'subversive' books.

And I think that's worse.

Re:So do the libraries (3, Interesting)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781350)

Don't be stupid [ala.org] and don't spread stupid [ala.org] .

If your local library ignores the ALA, that's up to you to fix.

Re:So do the libraries (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779496)

I used to work for a company that makes library software and this is actually a very important issue in that field. While keeping a list of who has what is unavoidable, the librarians are very adamant that there should be no borrowing history stored. When you return the book they make a point to delete all records that show you ever had it.

Re:So do the libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780652)

Untrue. My public library has all the books I ever checked out. I have browsed my account online before it goes back years actually.

Re:So do the libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779526)

These libraries don't keep records after you return the book. Their privacy policy likely promises to delete records after so many months. Those FISA warrents will only get what records the library has. They can't turn over what the library has deleted. The advertising thing is silly. It is no different then seeing adds in a book jacket. Also last time I checked libraries carried newspapers and magazines with plenty of adds.

Re:So do the libraries (2)

spopepro (1302967) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779582)

This is misleading. The library keeps records of what you currently have checked out. My public and school libraries do not keep a record of what I have checked out in the past. Your library may differ, but the ALA officially vigorously defends individuals right to intellectual freedom, and that includes not tracking reading history.

Re:So do the libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780684)

This is misleading. The library keeps records of what you currently have checked out. My public and school libraries do not keep a record of what I have checked out in the past. Your library may differ, but the ALA officially vigorously defends individuals right to intellectual freedom, and that includes not tracking reading history.

Um, what?

I recall every book having a list of who the last several people to sign it out were attached to the inside of the back cover in my school libraries.

I suspect you just didn't realize that your borrowing history could be reconstructed from the records that are kept (for example if they simply keep every "what's out this week" list they've ever had.

Re:So do the libraries (5, Informative)

Phiz (21461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779646)

Most libraries have privacy policies that state they delete the record of a book being checked out once it is returned. For example, you can find the policy for NYC public libraries here: http://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/legal-notices/privacy-policy [nypl.org] . They even state that they backup their data, and the record of your returned book may exist for an additional 4 weeks in their rolling backup system. I love that they give you this level of detail into how they operate.

my library keeps the whole list (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780714)

I can call it up. I forgot i had read some of those books.

Re:So do the libraries (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779726)

libraries don't sell your data

Re:So do the libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779734)

Um, not at my library. We delete your borrowing history once your books are checked back in. And the head librarian has gone to jail instead of giving out what people currently have checked out.

Re:So do the libraries (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780046)

Actually your library records are no longer covered, that part of the PATRIOT Act was not renewed. FISA only covers foreign agents. I know because the head librarian for the Medina County Library system has been one of the champions against COPA, the Patriot Act provision, and any other legislation which restricts the freedom of her patrons to freely read what they want without the government peering over their shoulder.

Re:So do the libraries (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780092)

Historically, the libraries make a stink about any search, and are sticklers for the law. Corporation are willing to give over any information the feds want with a phone call.

Exactly, and as anyone who's seen Seinfeld (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780110)

can attest, those library cops can track you down decades later [youtube.com] .

Re:Exactly, and as anyone who's seen Seinfeld (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780586)

Knew it was Seinfeld even before i clicked the link....

Re:Exactly, and as anyone who's seen Seinfeld (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37781390)

Because it was in the comment subject? Nothing gets past you.

Poor Libraries (-1, Troll)

sureshot007 (1406703) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779434)

I think this librarian is just upset because he/she is realizing how irrelevant the idea of a library is anymore. Seriously, when was the last time any of you actually used a library?

Re:Poor Libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779594)

Twice this week.

Re:Poor Libraries (4, Insightful)

guyfawkes-11-5 (1583613) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779606)

I think this librarian is just upset because he/she is realizing how irrelevant the idea of a library is anymore. Seriously, when was the last time any of you actually used a library?

This week. I never understood why they are not utilized even more than they are in these economic times. Your taxes have already paid for the books on the shelves, why buy another copy?

Re:Poor Libraries (-1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779790)

i go once a year and it's always full. people too cheap to pay for internet and asian kids

in this day when internet is $10 a month i can't understand how anyone would want to use it at the library

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780338)

i go once a year and it's always full. people too cheap to pay for internet and asian kids.

Yeah, if you are too cheap to pay for an asian kid, you shouldn't have one. After all, what's he going to do after school if you can't afford internet for him to surf?

Re:Poor Libraries (3, Insightful)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780798)

My daughter is 4 and she loves going to the library and picking out books to read. I occasionally get a library book myself but never off the shelf, I register online and they deliver it directly to my house. I can return it to any library in my county. They also have a wide selection of movies and television series that my wife occasionally checks out, yet another "aid" in the movement to ditch cable on top of Netflix and Hulu.

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

iteyoidar (972700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779652)

My city's main library tends to be pretty busy all the time. They're even building another one. Also, they have free books!

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779670)

I grab books on CD there before most trips. Fairfax County has a very nice library system and strict enough zoning that the problems an earlier AC referenced are segregated to certain branches.

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779722)

Public libraries are not targeted at working professionals - they are largely targeted at those who are able to visit them during business hours - retirees, the unemployed, stay at home parents and children. For most of us, paying $8 for a paperback is not an expensive proposition - fractional hour of income for multiple hours of pleasure. For those demographics listed above without direct income, the appeal is quite obvious.

Re:Poor Libraries (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779828)

Libraries are great for families, even ones that aren't broke. Kids go through scads of books, I wouldn't want to keep them all.

Re:Poor Libraries (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780108)

Kids go through scads of books, I wouldn't want to keep them all.

I used to buy a lot of books, but then I had to pack them all into boxes to move across the Atlantic and realised that borrowing them made far more sense when it was something I wasn't likely to read multiple times.

Of course e-books make storage much less of a problem.

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781042)

I get the logistics issue but just barely. I don't think that books would be a trouble when moving, no matter how many of them you have or how far you go (planet outbound excluded). Usually when you move far away the one time extra k you will pay for extra container space won't matter, and if you aren't moving enough to be in the >1000$ range of shipping costs then you obviously aren't moving enough or are moving only for a small period of time (lets say less 10 years). In the last case you obviously can do away with 95% of your literature and keep only the relevant ones. Also moving away indefinitely is a good opportunity to gift books, that way people get a prolonged parting gift experience (granted they actually read the book you gave them).

On the ebook thing...
I buy a lot of books, I have tried going digital a couple of times and it sucks in so many levels I don't even want to get started. The show stopper, whatsoever, remains one thing: When you buy digital you end up with a copy of nothing (yeah that still is pretty much nothing).

Digital books will only work (from my perspective at least) only when retailers go the indie vinyl route where the digital copy is just an addon to the physical purchase.

</offtopic>
</rant>
</old_fart>

Re:Poor Libraries (2)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779820)

I use my library all the time. They have a decent web interface where I can order what I want to be put on hold for me, and they email me when it's in. When I stop by I usually see a couple of other good books as well. They also have ebooks available through Overdrive; they just added Kindle/mobi books, but I haven't checked any of them out so I don't know if the checkout process is any different. I don't think that the Overdrive process would send you to Amazon, but I may be wrong on that.

Re:Poor Libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779880)

...Seriously, when was the last time any of you actually used a library?

Last week. And the week before that. Our family goes every week.

It's great - you can borrow books and magazines and read them for free. Even really expensive books that you need for school. Yup, I'm sure it costs everyone a little bit to run libraries but I think the payoff is worth it. Smarter people, more educated people, even healthier people. I just don't see the downside.

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779930)

Seriously, when was the last time any of you actually used a library?

Last weekend.

Re:Poor Libraries (2)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780216)

Until I got my kindle- I used the library all the time!

I use my kindle and download free books all the time (I use gutenburg instead of amazon- even if amazon has it for free).

The main problem with the library is that I don't always have time to read books- and frequently ran out of time to read a book- and renewing is such a hassle.

Whereas, reading the free books means I'm limited to older books- there are tonnes of older books I've always wanted to read that I never got around to... so I'm still reading books I always wanted to.

Re:Poor Libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780256)

I use libraries all the time. I am sitting in one now. Awesome place.

Re:Poor Libraries (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780260)

Almost every week.
My kids are avid readers, so during the summer they check out about 8 books a week.

It' also has a good movie selection, and a game selection. It has teen specific activities, literacy programs, ESL programs, public space for meetings... and a coffee shop. Sadly they won't let me check out coffee~

Libraries are very relevant. I suggest you look at the features of your local library.

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781382)

Pretty sure they don't want the coffee back after you've finished it ...

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

microTodd (240390) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780916)

I use my local library all the time. Just read Danielewski's latest. And the new Ice and Fire (didn't want to pay $30 for a new hardcover) My wife uses it all the time, she just finished reading all three Hunger Games. My kids use it WAY more than I do (two kids, 5 books each, every other week). And there's always at least one or two other people in line to check out books when I go to check mine out.

To say nothing of all the people using the internet PCs in there. And the storytime for the kids. And the DVDs. And the music CDs. And the cubicles where I see high school kids doing homework.

But my library is awesome. I can search the catalog from online and reserve books and they'll hold them at the desk. And I can search other libraries' catalogs and they'll move the books to my library for me. Awesome.

Re:Poor Libraries (1)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781452)

My wife, at least once this week (DVDs and books). Me, once this week and probably tomorrow (to get out of the home office for a bit, and maybe a book). Pick any random day at any random time the Redmond, WA King County Library is open, and the parking lot will be a minimum of half full. Weekends or after work/school it's probably close to full.

That's not counting the eBooks that don't involve going to the b&m library. Overdrive worked, but was generally a PITA. The Amazon setup, all other complaints aside, was surprisingly low-friction. If I like the book and might reference it again, Amazon has a convenient "buy" button when going to check it back in (yes, yes, evil corporate bastards).

In summary, it looks like plenty of people use our local library. I don't know why anyone that consumes books, CDs, or DVDs wouldn't at least pop in to see what it's about.

Librarians are touchy that way (4, Insightful)

edremy (36408) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779536)

I've discussed this with our campus library: they deliberately keep no records at all of book lending. I wanted them to look up my records for a specific book I'd borrowed in the past and couldn't remember the title of, and they couldn't help me get it that way. (We found it via other searches) Cornell's library [cornell.edu] has posted a set of disclosure notices which seem pretty much in touch with our library and others that I've asked about since

It might not be a bad idea for Amazon to work out a similar plan: simply destroy the record once the book is returned. They might have to burn some ad records as well though, since I'm sure they're offering the book for sale, and it would be easy to track that if they got subpoenaed. My guess is that is where Amazon would balk.

Re:Librarians are touchy that way (4, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779650)

They won't. To Amazon, your borrowing history is "product" that they can package and sell to advertisers and their own internal teams. It would be like asking them to burn money.

Re:Librarians are touchy that way (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780090)

So they dont know what books they have, which have been loaned out and to whom? Thats not a library, thats a "free book box".

Re:Librarians are touchy that way (2)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781096)

So they dont know what books they have, which have been loaned out and to whom? Thats not a library, thats a "free book box".

They know what books they have. They know what books are currently on loan, and who has them. What they CHOOSE NOT TO KNOW is who had what book previously.

Re:Librarians are touchy that way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37781258)

They know what is currently checked out, and their inventory, but not the history of patrons.

Amazon on the other hand is keeping track of the history to advertise those books (and similar ones) to make a sale. It's that history which presents a privacy concern for some people.

Re:Librarians are touchy that way (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781288)

Strangely enough, my little small town coffee shop (one of two in town, neither are a chain) *is* a free book box. They've got shelves full, feel free to come in, get some coffee, take a (paperback only) book home. And next time you come in for your coffee, feel free to return it, or bring some other books or magazines in. They have a good assortment of hard cover books, but those aren't allowed out of the store...

People don't care (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779564)

People don't care. They just don't. As long as they can consume something faster and cheaper, they will. Self respect doesn't even into the equation. Welcome to Idiocracy.

Not with a bang, but with a whisper... (0)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779580)

Prattlings from a worker in yet another doomed profession. I have several friends who work at libraries, and I'm constantly amazed at their delusions of relevance. More and more money spent acquiring multiple copies of best sellers rather than expanding the breadth of the library. Money wasted on video games and popular DVDs. A single years' budget could buy everyone in my city one of the subsidized Kindles. Lease the real estate to purchase e-books for lending. Instead, they're expanding the number of libraries but keeping the budget the same, so it'll mean more of the pie going for facilities and salaries and less on content.

Re:Not with a bang, but with a whisper... (0)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779688)

Unless Librarians are Hot, they are pretty damned useless.

Re:Not with a bang, but with a whisper... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780196)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library#Public_libraries

Free "Kindles for everyone" doesn't provide access to the poor, to children of those parents who neither care nor have income to spare, nor affordable access to very expensive reference materials which even people of economic means use infrequently enough to not warrant actual purchase, to mention a few genuine benefits of a public library.

I am happy for those who can consume as many books as they want (at least as much as it keeps the price down for those who can't), but consumption isn't anything particularly of merit, in and of itself.

Libraries are trying to find relevance in an internet age. I don't necessary agree with all of the choices, but I'm not thoughtless enough to condemn the whole system.

Re:Not with a bang, but with a whisper... (1)

Ruprecht the Monkeyb (680597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780432)

Posting a semi-releveant Wikipedia article isn't much of a counter. The Kindle is a delivery mechanism. I can already check books out of the local library on it without ever spending another $1 at Amazon. But the selection sucks, because instead of buying digital copies that will never wear out, and will never be returned late, won't be unavailable because the only copy is at branch X instead of Branch Y,etc, they're buying dead tree versions. Digital distribution could dramaticallt expand a library's reach with the same resources.

Re:Not with a bang, but with a whisper... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780736)

We're not that far away from a time when ebooks are cheap enough for libraries to actually lend out. Borrowing books is only one facet of a library's usefulness, around here they have free classes, access to computers, not to mention librarians that can find all sorts of information that one has a hard time finding on ones own.

Right now a Kindle, for instance, is $79 new, DVDs and some of the more expensive books can be that much or more to replace.

In other words, even with the books replaced by electronic copies, having physical locations is still something of value to the community. But then again, folks around here use the libraries more than anywhere else in the US most years, so I could be overestimating the utility a bit.

Re:Not with a bang, but with a whisper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37781198)

Trying to be nice, the point was that there is a history as to why we have free, public libraries. Kindles ain't free. Neither are libraries, of course, but they are to those who need them the most.

And since when is Kindle content guaranteed to be around forever? The Kindle isn't a delivery mechanism, it's an ecosystem. A delivery system implies that the content has a persistence that exists outside of how it makes it to your door. The content on a KIndle is a service, not an object, and its life is determined by Amazon. (BTW, it is even an ecosystem I like, although I tend not to purchase books that I think I'll re-read more than once on it) My experience is that books don't wear out; they get brown, musty, even a little moldy but they tend to stick around for a while.

Finally your assertion that digital distribution could expand the reach is only true if the underlying business model supports it. I know that Kindle versions of books are often more expensive for me to buy than the dead tree version. I have no idea how Amazon charges libraries (buy, term license), the cost, the number of copies simultaneously allowed, and of course how long they will continue to use the current model even if that is favorable.

(And without boring you with semi-relevant links, some librarians are actually excited about the prospect with the (predictable) worries of what turning over so much of what they do to the potential evil of a single entity.)

Wait... (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779608)

Amazon keeps your history of reading library ebooks on their corporate servers, 'so it's an instant violation of all of our privacy policies.

Doesn't the library keep a record of my reading history that is accessible by the gov'ment under the "patriot" act? How is this any worse? At least Amazon can do something positive with the data and make recommendations of books I might like...

Re:Wait... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779760)

Doesn't the library keep a record of my reading history that is accessible by the gov'ment under the "patriot" act?

If you'd read the earlier posts, you'd know that they don't. However, the current ebook lending system at my library requires using some crappy Adobe software which presumably has to 'phone home' for DRM, so I'm not sure how this is worse.

Re:Wait... (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779982)

After further reading, I stand corrected. Still, good point about the Adobe software; my library uses the same system.

Quietly, .... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779694)

... I hope.

Shock of Shocks (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779774)

Does it really surprise anyone? Amazon is the company that went and deleted people's books AFTER they were paid for and amazon will do what it takes to make a dollar. Libraries and Amazon really don't have the same mission (and shouldn't) so why is this any surprise.

Baffling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37779800)

Well, people fought player pianos and Edison phonographs because they felt it would put human piano players out of business. And the movie studios famously fought VHS tapes tooth-and-nail, nearly denying themselves many many billions of dollars in revenues. Isn't every new technology met with this kind of dissension, especially by the status quo? And surely libraries - most libraries, anyway - store the book-lending habits of its patrons on a server somewhere? Of course they don't try to sell us anything, but they can certainly mine this information if they choose.

Patriot Act (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779856)

“The American Library Association (ALA) opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information or to intimidate individuals exercising free inquiryALA considers that sections of the USA PATRIOT ACT are a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users.” - From the ALA website.

“The searches of some records kept by libraries and bookstores were authorized in an obscure provision of the USA Patriot Act, quietly approved by Congress six weeks after Sept. 11. The act, passed virtually without hearings or debate, allowed a variety of new federal surveillance measures, including clandestine searches of homes and expanded monitoring of telephones and the Internet. Section 215 gave the FBI authority to obtain library and bookstore records and a wide range of other documents during investigations of international terrorism or secret intelligence activities.”

“Under the Patriot Act, law-enforcement officials must still back up their library-search requests with a warrant from a court. But that court meets in secret to hear the FBI’s reasons for suspicion, critics say, and legal standards for obtaining warrants are not as tough as standards for traditional search warrants.”

Easier for the FBI to get the info from Amazon.

All your base are belong to us (0)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 2 years ago | (#37779858)

All your base are belong to us

From a Librarian (5, Insightful)

Ismene (680764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780050)

Hi - I think a lot of people here are focusing more on Librarian In Black's concern of the "Buy Now" buttons - when you should be concerned about your privacy. First, I get why she is annoyed by the "Buy Now" button. Libraries do not wish to "endorse" a particular service or product over another - and the "Buy Now" button gives the sense that "This Library supports Amazon" over another bookseller.

As for the privacy concerns, I've noticed a lot of comments on "Well, don't libraries give up those records with the PATRIOT act anyway?" When the PATRIOT act was enacted, libraries in the US scrambled to protect the rights of their users and the majority of them only have a record of who has what item out at that time - they do not have a record of what you returned.

And of course, there are lots who are saying "Libraries, bah - NOT RELEVANT." And I'm sure that is true for many of you; however, the library is more than books. Libraries provide a space for people to gather, they provide free internet to those who cannot afford it, they provide lessons on various computer programs, storytimes for children, etc. I am in an academic college library, and the majority of my students cannot afford their textbooks, let alone a computer for them to use. Please remember, you are probably viewing this article from your own computer - there are still a lot of people out there who don't have that luxury. Libraries help people with research, and despite what everyone thinks - not everything is found via Google. Perhaps Rush Limbaugh could have used a librarian / library when he made those horrible remarks about the LRA.

Al Franken said it best (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780372)

Rush Limbaugh's fact checker has the easiest job in the world.

Not that I like much about Franken's poltics either, but he is a pretty good comedian.

Re:From a Librarian (1)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781490)

1. Interlibrary loans were the original internet. The advent of http://worldcat.org/ [worldcat.org] only made them better.
2. What kind of clown still buys dead trees simply for a one-time read? (Yeah, me too...)
3. Since when are DRM files necessarily permanent? By making them time out, any need or justification for tracking who they were issued to is nullified.

Librarian impotently nerd-rages at clueless masses (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780086)

I think I know which profession to look for women in, we'll get along just fine!

Re:Librarian impotently nerd-rages at clueless mas (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781332)

Librarians are the proto-geeks, proto-DBAs, and proto-sysadmins.

Not to mention most are female, quite a few single, and quite a few good looking. Heck, there is even a subset where all 3 attributes apply!

Stand up for the library (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780150)

The inconsistency in the Slashdot ethos about information is stunning. The library is THE PLACE that has kept information free in American society and when a librarian stands up for everyone in trying to a) protect privacy and b) give people access to information without bias, y'all complain?

Where else can you, within current copyright law, read an entire book for free? Get it sent to your local library? Read an eBook for free? Take your kids and let them read and play in a special area for them? Take those books home, for free?

Libraries are a bastion for the freedom of information in a society with umpteen million commercial pressures to suppress it. These librarians are the shit.

Re:Stand up for the library (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780992)

If you'd but logged in, and I but a single mod-point, 'twould be yours.

What's she afraid of? (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780186)

If I agree with her, and her library has a copy of the book I want, I will read it in hard copy. If I disagree with her, I will resent that she is advocating for all libraries to take this choice from me... Even when they don't HAVE a copy of the book I want to read in hard copy.

Actually, this is the only Kindle program I really like. Participating libraries can provide something they may not HAVE a copy of (saving small libraries). And if they DO have the hard paper copy, I'd probably prefer it anyway, so what's the harm?

If multiple people read a book, the positive environmental impact of reuse offsets the cost of printing, and beats the Kindle. But if it's an obscure book that only I want to read, it's better for me to read it on a borrowed Kindle. Environmental cost of production of the laptop or Kindle is only offset after thousands of reads (obviously Amazon's goal), but the average years of use of new electronic gadgets makes that milestone, per Kindle, unlikely in a single-kindle-owner-user basis.

The librarian tirade seems to say this should not even be attempted on a trial basis. What does it amount to, 1% of library readership? If it increases the number of people who go to the library, she should dance a jig on Kindle's behalf.

Library card (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780212)

By scanning my library card a program will retrieve all the books I've checked out from a server. They don't tell me where the server is and if I can get access to it to monitor how my information is being treated. The library has a ton of advertisements in it for books and newspapers and more. I'm really confused what her point is, all the kindle has done is shrunken down the library into a hand held model, everything this library is complaining about happens in the library system. I think she's just worried of losing a job because a little embedded system can do her job more effectively.

Librarians Rock (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780326)

They don't mess around.

Talking too loudly? SHHHH!
Demanding the records of a librarian patron? STFU!

Re:Librarians Rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37780616)

When reading the headline the first thing coming to mind was Discworld :D

oh noze, being tracked (1)

bobmajdakjr (2484288) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780334)

every brick and mortar library i have ever visited also kept my reading history on file; high school library, uni library, city library, state library - all of them. i could even browse it from one of their dumb-terminals right there on the library desk. so... what is their real argument? oh yeah - easier than driving to a real library.

Security rule #2: (1)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37780474)

Never assume the owner of the medium you are using can't access your information on it. The phone company can hear your phone calls. Your ISP can monitor your traffic. Your email server can read your email. Your game server can read your private chats. Youtube can read your private youtube messages. Forum owners can read private forum messages.

And yes, corporations/companies/individuals know your history of buying from them.

The only way to avoid it is to one day need that information; then it probably can't be found.

Oh no .... you get to give something away for free (1)

brainchill (611679) | more than 2 years ago | (#37781312)

You get to give something away for free instead of paying for books and amazon gets a little advertisement .... big deal. And if this spins out of control and people follow these links and BUY BOOKS then it keeps their lust for reading alive and keeps people interested in even having libraries at all. As for keeping lists of books that were checked out ... my county library does this unless you specifically check a box on your account that you want them not to. I think you'll find that this is common practice in many libraries today.
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