Friday, April 22, 2011

Libraries on the Go

Recent news in the e-reader world is that Amazon will enable Kindle Library Lending later this year--which at last puts the Kindle on track with the Barnes and Noble Nook and other e-readers that already have access to digital libraries and rentals. The New York Times reports that Amazon will work with OverDrive, a large lender of e-books to schools and libraries.

Some may see this as another stab into the traditional book's chest. This may be the case for some readers, but true bibliophiles will use e-rentals in the same way that some TV watchers (myself included) use Netflix--to preview a title before deciding if it's worth buying. If it's a piece that really grips the reader, that reader will still buy the book (either for an e-reader or in physical copy) to read at leisure, or again in the future.

Secondly, this gives another e-reader the chance to defibrillate the book, to shock away its decline. In the way that Amazon reshaped commerce with its web presence, rentals over e-readers reconfigure our expectations of librarians.

Hey, we need somebody to manage all of that information.

I would, of course, be interested in hearing what others of you have to think; feel free to weigh in on the Kindle question.


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