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Borrowing Library eBooks vs. Buying Kindle Books
November 28, 2011 - 8:55pm

I'm intrigued by this whole idea of borrowing Kindle books from my public library. So far, I've borrowed from my NH Downloadable Book Consortium the following books:

Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power by Robert Kaplan

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
    
Thick as Thieves by Peter Spiegelman
    
Headhunters by Jo Nesbo
   
Smokin' Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich

Observations:

Selection:  

The biggest problem with borrowing eBooks instead of buying is the selection. My NH consortium has 2,124 fiction eBooks and 227 nonfiction eBooks. Of these, only 398 fiction books and 26 nonfiction books are available to check out right now. The actual numbers are even worse, as not every book is available in Kindle format, but instead as an Adobe EPUB eBook (which can't be read on a Kindle device).   

Compared to what is on offer at Amazon the library eBook selection is spectacularly underwhelming. From Amazon, I can buy (right now) 352,366 fiction or 753,533 nonfiction Kindle books.  

I'm hoping my NH consortium grows, and perhaps your public library has better Kindle book selections. (Does anyone publish comparative stats of available books by state consortiums?)  For now, finding a library Kindle book that I want to read is a matter of luck and waiting.

Borrowing vs. Lending:

Searching for an eBook to download http://nh.lib.overdrive.com is primitive compared to the Amazon browsing experience. I can sort by what is available now, title, author, published date, most popular, and date added to the site. There is no way to see the actual publication date. Nor does the overdrive site have anything like Amazon's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought".  No editorial or customer reviews.   

Once you find a book to borrow on overdrive the process is straightforward. If the book is available, and you have less than 3 book already checked out (and if the Kindle format is available), then you can put the book in your cart. Once you check the book out you are sent to an Amazon Kindle page, where a button appears that lets you borrow the book.  Borrowed Kindle books can be managed the same as purchased books, and delivered wireless to any device.   

Beyond the 3 books available or borrowing, you can have 5 books on hold at any given time. These are books that are all checked out, and when they become available the system sends an e-mail letting you know they are available for download. The books expire automatically after 2 or 3 weeks, and cannot be renewed.   Nor can Kindle books be returned to the library prior to the due date. If you finish a book, you need to wait until it expires to get below 3 checked out books to borrow another one.

Questions:

Are academic libraries able to join the Kindle Local Library program?

Is there a comparable program for academic libraries?

Can academic libraries join state consortiums?

Do public libraries pay the same amount to buy the Kindle book for lending as consumers?  

I understand that this Kindle library program is a partnership with OverDrive, but I'm confused about how this is different from OverDrive's business with academic libraries?   

Is there a list of publishers not participating in the Kindle library program?

Who are the people at Amazon in charge of the library program?  How do we meet them?  And are academic librarians negotiating with Amazon?

Is Amazon the only game in town for eBook lending?   Does B&N have a program?

What are the best blogs and sites to stay informed about library eBooks?   Are the public and academic library communities around eBooks totally different, or do they overlap?

What are your questions about library (public and academic) eBooks?

 

 

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