Friday, September 23, 2011

Kindle Library Lending Goes Live

Kindle Library Lending Goes Live:

Attribution Some rights reserved by jimmiehomeschoolmom
In April, Amazon announced that they would change their long-standing policy and e-nable library borrowing on the Kindle. This feature has now gone live. Using your Kindle to borrow library ebooks will apparently be even easier than with other e-book readers. Your checked-out book will be downloaded to your Kindle via Whispernet, just as with the books you buy from Amazon.

This will enable many more people to borrow library e-books, and should greatly increase the demand for e-books in libraries. This is all good news.

There are a few concerns though. Amazon is emphasizing the fact that your notes on a borrowed book will be available to you if you borrow the book again, or if you subsequently purchase it. That means that at least some library borrower information will be permanently stored by Amazon on their servers. Libraries delete all information tying your record to whatever books you have borrowed once the book is returned and any overdue fines are paid. No one can investigate your reading habits based on library records of what you've borrowed and returned. It's one of the ways libraries protect readers' privacy.

Under Amazon's Kindle library borrowing program, that privacy will be lost for Kindle users. Amazon will retain permanently (or as long as they feel it serves their corporate interests) the record of every e-book you borrow using your Kindle, your notes and highlights on the text, how many times you borrowed the book, and whether or not you eventually purchased it. They might even link the information if you purchase it in printed form, if you buy it from Amazon.

Barnes & Noble's Nook and the Sony e-reader, the other major e-reader options for library borrowing, don't offer nearly that "convenience"--or surrender of reading privacy.

That's a lot of information to give a corporation about your reading habits, thoughts, and library usage. That's worth thinking about, and considering whether it's really where we want to go.