Friday, February 8, 2008

Oh, Amazon.

So can libraries loan a Kindle, or not?

The Magic 8-Ball seems to still be saying, "Answer unclear, try again later."

It's a little surprising to me that Amazon didn't see this one coming, to be honest. But, since apparently they didn't, it also doesn't surprise me that they aren't sure what to do about it. (I worked for Amazon from mid-1996 until early 2000.) My guess is that they don't want to say no to what could, after all, be a huge market (imagine how many public libraries might jump on board once the green light is given for real!), but Sparta PL is, after all, violating the terms of use of the device.

This gets at the heart of the ongoing debate also taking place in other areas of the entertainment industry, most notably music and movies. The format content is in shouldn't change what you can do with it--or should it? Do libraries have to stick with printed books, or with comparatively unwieldy digital library services (I love NetLibrary, but forget trying to use it to read a novel)? Or wait for a reading device as cool as the Kindle apparently is, with equally cool use rights?

The Magic 8-Ball says: Stay tuned.

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