The Impending Wrath and Friendship of the Kindle.

May 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm (eBooks, ereaders, HarperCollins, Kindle, Libraries, OverDrive)

It’s been about two weeks since OverDrive announced that the Kindle will be working with public libraries at some point this year.  There are plenty of articles out there about this topic.  Here are some describing this major breakthrough in bridging the gap between public libraries and the Kindle:

Amazon to launch library lending for Kindle books By Nancy Blair, USA TODAY

Kindle Users to Be Able to Borrow Library E-Books by Julie Bosman, New York Times

To anyone who has followed the power of the Kindle and its lack of support towards public libraries in the past knows that this has been an ongoing issue.  For years librarians have been told that the Kindle will never, NEVER, work with OverDrive.  However, saying, “Never,” is truly a remark that will most likely, well, never lasts.  So with the introduction of the Kindle to the public library sector, what can librarians expect?  It’s hard to say, since so many details are under wraps for the time being, but there are some details floating around.

So here are a few things I have learned.  OverDrive will be compatible with the Kindle and the Kindle app.  Any previously purchased eBooks in our OverDrive collection will be compatible; there will not a separate format we (librarians) will have to purchase, now or in the future. Patrons will use OverDrive in the same way they do now: browse, checkout, and download.  There will most likely be a button somewhere at the end of the checkout process asking patrons if they are planning to transfer to a Kindle.  Best of all, the service will not be limited to public libraries alone.  Schools and colleges will also have access.  The possible somewhat-negative side effect: there may be more software patrons will need to download, but at least we are all used to that at this point.  Also, when the Kindle is ready to work with OverDrive, we need to be prepared.  There is going to be sheer madness as far as activity on our sites.  My advice, buy as many eBooks as you possibly can, although, that still will not be enough to meet the impending demand that will happen.

Frankly, I am very excited about Kindle finally opening up to public libraries for the sheer fact that, as librarians, we no longer will have to turn patrons away with the only option of going to Project Gutenberg. It gives me hope that maybe all the incompatibility between devices and formats will be ironed out sooner rather than later.  (I am also having underlying wishes that HarperCollins will relinquish their gross injustice with their ridiculous cap on eBook circulation.  Only time will tell).

So with all that said, thank you Amazon for recognizing public libraries and our patrons as a valuable asset.  It is so nice to know that we are going to be playing nicely in the future.  I am looking forward to our impending friendship.

–Melissa the Librarian


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