“Why So Few eBooks?”

Ever wonder why there are so few titles available as eBooks in our catalog? The answer is simple, but the solution is not. Many publishers (Macmillan Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group, Brilliance Audio, and Hachette Book Group) will not sell or license eBooks to libraries.

Your library can purchase a title from one of the above publishers in various formats – large or regular print, hard copy or paperback or even on a CD. However, the publishers will not sell the eBook to the library. The publishers are treating eBooks differently due to something call digital rights management (DRM) or digital rights content.

I know I keep linking to the Southern Adirondack Library System for this stuff. They’re my local library system, but they’re also the only organization I’ve seen that offers the librarian perspective on these eBooks lending problems.

Penguin Cuts off ebook Library Lending


Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer, then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.

Translation: We want you to support us in the same way you have been for years, by buying buy our books, and purchasing physical copies for your libraries, because we just don’t want to change. We will encourage this behavior by making eBook lending as inconvenient as we can make it.

Benefit of the doubt; is Penguin just being a party pooper for no good reason, or is the Overdrive/Amazon lending model the Spotify of the publishing industry?

Penguin Kindle eBooks No Longer Available From Libraries

From my local library system:

The Southern Adirondack Library System received no notification of this fact before it was implemented by Overdrive and Penguin USA. OverDrive has confirmed the details, stating on its Digital Library blog that the company was “instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from Library catalogs and disable Get for Kindle functionality for all Penguin eBooks.

Similar to labels pulling their music from streaming services, publishers are wondering what’s in this for them.

This isn’t Adobe ebooks, it’s just Kindle lending. I don’t think this is simply publishers trying to latch onto a dying business model. I think there may be onerous terms. On the other hand, I don’t doubt that Kindle lending is the most popular form of electronic lending for libraries. So just like how it seems that things just disappear from streaming services when they become popular, the same thing is happening now in libraries.

Nook friends

Bookfriend.me is a site that lets Nook users lend each other books.

Via Justin Blanton, who writes:

Quick, someone make this for the Kindle (which just added book lending). (Relatedly, no one actually owns a Nook, right?)

I know two people who own Nooks, which makes it twice the amount of people I know who own Kindles (that would be me). My gut feeling is that the technical nerds who do all their shopping on Amazon want Kindles and normal people who are used to buying books in a traditional retail store want Nooks.

Why’d they want Nooks? Because you can get library books on that device, not the Kindle. Which is weird, because the way it was described to me is that you have to jump through some hoops and get an Adobe epub manager application – pretty much an iTunes for epub that looks like Adobe Bridge. And then you have to wait for the electronic book to be available if it’s already out.

You’re right, it doesn’t make much practical sense.

Instapaper: The Kindle Killer App

The buzz is that the Kindle will die after the iPad is released. I’m not so sure. I think there might be room for both, simply because I think the iPad will not be a good reading device.

I don’t know that for sure, but I do know what it’s like to read long articles on my Macbook. It sucks. My eyes get tired. They start to get watery sometimes. You know that feeling of relief you get when you close your eyes for a moment after reading a website for a while? That’s what it’s probably going to be like reading on an iPad. You’ll still read articles in an F pattern, skim, and uh – actually not read anything.

Which is why I’m interested to see what Amazon does with Kindle 3.

The struggle to read long-form content on devices not really meant for it is why I’ve fallen in love with Instapaper, the web service that sends web pages to a list with just a click (or keyboard shortcut). You can then read from that list and even choose to strip the article of everything except text.

It’s great. If you haven’t tried it out you should. I used to used delicious for this, but Instapaper is so quick I rarely use delicious anymore. Delicious asks me to tag my bookmarks, but I don’t want to do that – I just want to read it later, which is what Instapaper excels at.

Screen shot 2010-02-25 at 9.24.20 PM.png

Of course, there’s still the problem of actually reading all this stuff. I think a laptop isn’t ideal, so I think the same of the iPad screen doing the same disservice to this stuff. It’s gotten to the point where if I see a single source in my reading list multiple times, like The Atlantic, I just get a subscription now. It’s like if I heard some great new music and bought it on vinyl. I don’t really want a vinyl record, but I have to do it since I don’t have an iPod. I have an old record player from my grandma’s attic.

But with Instapaper’s ability to send your reading list to a Kindle, and a software development kit for Kindle in the works…I don’t know if I’ll hold out much longer.

That Instapaper is such an attractive development for the Kindle feels a bit backwards. The Kindle sends you books over the air, but I don’t really want that, I’d continue to get most of my books from the library. I don’t have this problem of “wow – I wish I had an ENTIRE book to read IMMEDIATELY.”

I have plenty to read, there’s just no good way to read it. They aren’t all books.

Photo by scurzuzu, used under CC.

Link: Jeff Bezos answers some questions about the Kindle

Talking about how people can self-publish their books through Amazon for the Kindle:

NYT: How does that work?

Bezos: Basically you submit the book, you set the price for it, we charge the customer and then we give you 35 percent of the revenue.

NYT: And Amazon keeps 65 percent? That sounds like a lot.

Bezos: Does it? You’re an author, what does your royalty check look like? Are your royalties 35 percent?

NYT: No. Let’s not have that conversation.

Bezos: O.K., I think we’re done.