Why won’t Amazon let us share eBooks?

Larry Magid in his “Digital Crossroads” column in today’s San Jose Mercury News (p. c3) asks “Why won’t Amazon let us share eBooks?” and he reports on a couple of library efforts to circulate books via the Kindle.

I’m bothered that Kindle books can’t be loaned out or sold, but that is a solvable problem. The Northern California Digital Library (http://ncdl.lib.overdrive.com) has solved the lending problem for books that can be read on PCs and Macs, or audio books that can be listened to on computers or iPods.

. . .

As far as I know there’s no way to lend a Kindle book, although Brigham Young University experimented with lending out Kindle book readers with books on them. Unfortunately, BYU suspended the program until it hears from Amazon as to whether that’s OK. “Being a library, we will follow the rules and until the rules are clear we will wait,” university spokesman Rogen Layden told the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha has nine Kindles that it loans out to patrons. For awhile, there were funds to purchase books for patrons but the money ran out. Patrons can still borrow Kindles, but if the title they want isn’t on it, they’re out of luck.

. . .

It seems to me that libraries should be able to buy licenses for Kindle books and loan those out to patrons to read on borrowed Kindles or their own devices. . . .

. . .


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