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Amazon To Let Libraries Lend Kindle Books 135

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-won't-give-it-back dept.
Last month we reported that Amazon was confronting lenders of Kindle e-books. Today, thebian writes "Amazon announced yesterday that it would allow 11,000 libraries in the US to lend ebooks. The press release doesn't say exactly when this will start. Amazon is trying to speed the adoption of the Kindles. If people are slow to flock to the device the reason is the high prices the publishers cling to. Amazon itself sometimes undercuts Kindle prices, and almost always some booksellers on the Amazon Marketplace undercut the Kindle. There's no indication about what books might be offered through this program."
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Amazon To Let Libraries Lend Kindle Books

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  • My wife bought me a Nook Color for Christmas. One factor was the ability to download books from our library. For me, it's took late for Amazon; I will never buy a Kindle.
    • by garcia (6573) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:15AM (#35892544) Homepage

      Hey, thankfully there are pros and cons for each device and people have a choice between the two major competing devices.

      Some people like the openness of the underlying Android OS on the Nook Color and some people prefer the e-ink and Amazon ease-of-downloading on the Kindle.

      To each their own. Glad you are enjoying yours and you find it the superior device. Me? I prefer old-school books and will continue to do so until they pry my entire library from my cold, dead hands.

      • by morari (1080535)

        [quote]some people prefer the e-ink and Amazon ease-of-downloading on the Kindle.[/quote]

        That's why you purchase a Nook Classic. It's supported library books and user-to-user lending from day one. It also supports "ease of downloading" from several different e-book stores, because it uses EPUB instead of some dumb format Amazon made up. There's never really been any comparison between the two. The only thing the Kindle ever had going for it was it's market lead and slightly better battery life (no bottom LC

        • Amazon didn't "make up" any format, they've used MobiPocket.

          The big advantage to Kindle (IMO) is the built-in web browser with "free" 3G. This actually lets buy and download books from third-party stores directly from the device (e.g. on the road).

          • by morari (1080535)

            The Nook has a 3G model as well.

          • by PCM2 (4486)

            The Nook had 3G when it debuted also. The Nook's big advantage was that it also had WiFi, at a time when the Kindle didn't, and the WiFi-only model was cheaper. I think you'll find that even when you're "on the road," it doesn't take much effort to find a WiFi hotspot for the amount of time it takes to download a book.

      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:31AM (#35893506) Homepage Journal

        Have you tried a Kindle?

        Yes, for a long time I thought they would need to pull my books from my dead hands. Then I got my wife a Kindle. ANd after giving it a try, I fell in love with it and got my own.

        Now? I don't even want to pick up a paper book. IN fact, I am considering replacing my favorite books with eBook and then selling my paper books.

        The question seems to me to be: Do you like reading stories? or is it the idea of reading you really like? Because holding onto paper just to hold onto paper is an emotional decision that has nothing to do with reading. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just be honest with yourself.

        • by garcia (6573)

          Yeah I've tried a Kindle. They're great devices. In fact, I'd love to own one. Unfortunately the books cost $10 and I'm more of a $1/book from the local bookstore type of guy.

          I want to be able to resell my books to others when I'm done with them so that I can buy more books for $1. When the Kindle lets me do that while smelling, feeling, and touching a nice book while turning its paper pages I'll be all in.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            "smelling, feeling, and touching a nice book"

            Ah, you don't read for the story, you read for the emotional attachment to 'how you're supposed to do things'.

            Got it.

            Yeah, the expense is an issue, but it's already driving down to a dollar in some genre. My wife can get all kind of old romances and free or a dollar. Ironically, it's sci-fi and fantasy that's lagging behind.

        • by IICV (652597)

          Now? I don't even want to pick up a paper book. IN fact, I am considering replacing my favorite books with eBook and then selling my paper books.

          Well that's pretty much precisely what's keeping me from buying a Kindle - I have a large library of physical books, and if I get a Kindle I'm going to have to either re-purchase the majority of them or get little benefit from the Kindle, though of course I would start buying new books for the device.

          Personally, I think Amazon should offer discounts on the Kindle e

        • Now? I don't even want to pick up a paper book. IN fact, I am considering replacing my favorite books with eBook and then selling my paper books.

          That's a one-way deal, though. If you wanted to replace your eBooks with printed editions, you wouldn't be able to sell any of your eBooks to fund the purchase of printed books.

      • by slyrat (1143997)

        Hey, thankfully there are pros and cons for each device and people have a choice between the two major competing devices.

        Some people like the openness of the underlying Android OS on the Nook Color and some people prefer the e-ink and Amazon ease-of-downloading on the Kindle.

        To each their own. Glad you are enjoying yours and you find it the superior device. Me? I prefer old-school books and will continue to do so until they pry my entire library from my cold, dead hands.

        Well there is a third, though admittedly everyone seems to ignore it in the press. There is the Sony prs e-ink reader still. You also seem to have ignored the e-ink version of the Nook.

      • And I don't care at all, I listen to audio books. The device makes no difference what so ever. And libraries have supported audio books longer than books have had batteries. Most people don't even realize the wealth of recordings, cds, and movies at their local library. They think all they have are old dusty encyclopedias.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          You can listen to audio books on the kindle.

          Personally, I don't enjoy audio books. With rare exception, the person reading makes the book dull. I tried them for driving, and for when I walk into work.

    • by mdm-adph (1030332)
      Unless the Kindle starts supporting EPUB, which I guarantee will happen in the next year or three. But, I'm like you, went ahead and bought a Nook for this very reason.
      • It's amazing what Calibre does, isn't it.

        • by DrXym (126579)
          You shouldn't have to convert a book published in a standard format into a proprietary format and risk screwing up or losing formatting in order to read a book. It would be a relatively simple matter for Amazon to support EPUB but they choose not to. After all EPUB is after all basically XHTML content, CSS and some meta data zipped up and not far removed from what the device is already capable of supporting in random HTML files or even Mobipocket.

          I expect eventually they'll be compelled by market forces t

          • Will Amazon become another Apple dishing out the same kind of control freakery and anticompetitive hurdles to the competition?

            Right now, web browser on Kindle allows you to download MobiPocket files from any website, and will automatically add them to the device bookshelf. In practice, this means that any third-party web store selling books in MobiPocket can be used directly from Kindle, even over their free 3G service for models supporting that. I actually use mine that way - about 2/3 of all books from it are from such a third-party store.

            Which is to say, they aren't behaving particularly anti-competitive right now. Which, of co

            • by mattack2 (1165421)

              Are there mobipocket versions of the free books that are better than the free ones you can currently get on Kindle?

              e.g. I remember reading reviews saying things like the index in various Sherlock Holmes books didn't work in the free versions you could download... also, lots of typos and such.

              • by DrXym (126579)
                For free books there are probably dozens of typeset versions floating around. I doubt you can say the quality depends on the format or the source you get them from. Generally speaking though if you want free books Project Gutenberg is the place to grab them. The Australian Project Gutenberg actually has more recent books such as most of George Orwell's books because went out of copyright faster there.
                • by mattack2 (1165421)

                  I guess I was hoping maybe the people who worked on the mobipocket versions were somehow more careful/obsessed about making them work "properly".
                  (I presume many different versions are starting with the same raw source, then formatting it into the different ebook formats, with differing amounts of extra work added on.)

    • If you're having any doubts, the Nook Color can be rooted to become an Android tablet, and have the Kindle for Android app installed. That means the device you have could still be used that way, if you were so inclined.

      Personally, I've been using Kindle on my iPhone, and have collected a library of about 125 books already - so I understand if you've got a Nook library already and wouldn't want to switch!
      • by Relayman (1068986)
        A Barnes & Noble person told me that there's going to be major upgrade this month which will allow the Nook to shop at an app store. I expect more of the Android OS to be apparent at that point. I don't plan to root mine; I will let B&N make the improvements.
        • by DrXym (126579)
          Yes B&N have plans for an App Store but they don't seem very advanced. I applied for their program 2 weeks ago and heard nothing back yet. If they try to charge a fee to enter as Amazon do then I hope they fail. Amazon charges $100 to be on their app store which is ludicrous even if they waive it for the first year. I suspect they're only doing it to keep free app / open source scum away their app store, and ensure only profitable / popular pay apps appear there.
    • My wife has a Kindle, and we've been planning on me getting a different reader because of the library issue. I either read junk popular books very quickly that I don't want forever (so don't need to buy) or technical books that I want a hardback that I can write in. If this works, then we'll be happy to get another Kindle.
    • by Xian97 (714198) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:26AM (#35892680)
      For the very reason that you noted, Amazon has allowed this feature. People were going to other e-readers because of the Kindle lacking library lending. Now they are taking away one of the main reasons to buy from the competition. It may be too late for you, but there are a lot more people that were on the fence that were waiting for this feature before making a purchase.

      I like the Nook color, a Coworker has one, but for reading I prefer an e-ink display instead of the Nook Color display.
      • For reading fiction I will take an e-ink over an LCD every day, and the lack of color doesn't matter. The Kindle is not a tablet, but it's very good at what it does. Current LCD screens just don't cut it, if you read outdoors (as I often do).

      • The Nook E-Ink reader is really good as well and it allows library downloads too.
  • by woolpert (1442969) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:05AM (#35892440)

    As it stands now savvy users can simply check out a epub library book to their PC with Adobe Digital Editions, seamlessly remove the DRM with calibre, then convert and upload to their Kindle with one-button via your Kindle's free email address. If Amazon doesn't make their service work without a PC I've gained nothing.

    I almost died of the analysis-paralysis suffered looking for an ebook reader, and finally settled on the Kindle as the best bang for the buck today. While I feel epub is the future (especially now that google has weighed in) with calibre I Just Don't Care.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      FYI : calibre has nothing to do with DRM, it's an external script that removes DRM.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Relayman (1068986)
      Sorry, what you've proposed is at best unethical and at worst illegal. I'll pass.
      • by ynp7 (1786468)

        Not sure how that's unethical. Also not sure it's illegal. But I'm not a lawyer, so I'll leave that one be.

      • by CaptBubba (696284) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:40AM (#35892830)

        No it is only unethical if you don't delete the book from your kindle when your check out period expires.

        Illegal is a gray area because it is being done solely for compatibility reasons.

        The reverse is possible too. I buy amazon ebooks, strip the DRM, convert them to ePub, and load them only my Nook. I use the nook heavily for library reading as well. If this lending program had been in place a couple months ago I would have kept the kindle I won (instead a sold it and bought the Nook).

        • by shidobu (672566)

          the DMCA specifically makes format switching to remove DRM illegal as it falls under the umbrella of "Circumventing access-control technologies." It provides for this kind of format switching only under explicitly enumerated conditions, none of which is device compatibility.

          • by CaptBubba (696284) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @01:13PM (#35896478)

            Bullshit:

            MGE UPS Systems v. GE Consumer Industrial

            "Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. The DMCA prohibits only forms of access that would violate or impinge on the protections that the Copyright Act otherwise affords copyright owners."

            If you stripped the book's DRM then SOLD IT, you will get nailed. Bypassing DRM to use the work is (currently) legal.

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          No it is only unethical if you don't delete the book from your kindle when your check out period expires.

          The ethics of it is unclear even then. Once the check out period expires, the library "gets the book back" and can lend it out to other people, whether you delete the version from your Kindle or not.

          • Whether the library gets it or not is irrelevant. The ethics purely apply to the individual who somehow permanently obtains something under the pretext of borrowing. It is dishonest behavior.
            • by PCM2 (4486)

              But it's not under the pretext of borrowing if the transaction does not resemble borrowing in any traditional sense. If I, as a "borrower," know for a fact that I could light the book on fire and watch it burn to ash purely for my own enjoyment, but that once the ashes blew away in the wind, the library would get the book back -- well, as I said, the ethics are unclear. I know I'm not supposed to burn the book, but it doesn't actually make any difference whether I burn it or not.

      • I'd say it's about as unethical as appropriating the right to decide which libraries get to lend books bought in your store. You wouldn't accept that from a brick-and-mortar store, why is OK for Amazon to ? There's no honor among thieves, which is something all tech companies should consider before stealing away a users' rights.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          did you miss the part where there moving in the right direction?

          • They are acting as feudal lords granting privilege to some by decree, privilege that shouldn't be theirs to grant. On Amazon's terms, subject to Amazon's goodwill.
            "There are an estimated 122,101 libraries [ala.org] of all kinds in the United States today." Amazon today has granted less than 10% of those libraries the right to do with their digital books what they have always had the right to do with physical books bought from Amazon. In the process they are binding these libraries to Amazon ebooks to be read on the K

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Please explain what's unethical about converting data you legally acquired into another format?

        Please explain how that can be illegal as well.

      • by DrXym (126579)

        Sorry, what you've proposed is at best unethical and at worst illegal. I'll pass.

        It's ethical to manipulate content that you own into any format that you wish. The question is whether you "own" an ebook and unfortunately the answer is no you don't. You own a licence to view the ebook and therefore obtaining unauthorized access to the book (e.g. for the purposes of stripping the DRM) is probably a violation of whatever local anti-circumvention laws exist in your jurisdiction, be they DMCA or something else.

        Personally I think the definition stinks and it's not helped by the fact that e

        • by DrXym (126579)
          I should clarify I'm talking about DRM stripping books that someone has purchased outright not books received on loan from a library.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or, you know, plug your Kindle into your computer, copy the Kindle book and use DRM removal scripts to remove the Kindle DRM (http://apprenticealf.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/ebooks-formats-drm-and-you-%E2%80%94-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/).

      I do that all the time with the books I buy from Amazon just as a matter of backup.

  • Be more like MS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spinkham (56603) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:08AM (#35892466)

    This is a great thing. Amazon is learning. In the past Amazon has been too much like Apple, with their being a controlling dick about everything upfront.

    They should learn from MS, and be kind upfront, only to be a controlling dick later after they have huge market share.

    • by gblackwo (1087063)
      Right, that's why they gained so much market with DRMless mp3s... They are sooo controlling..
      • by spinkham (56603)

        Actions in a market with an already established leader and have to compete on merits are much different from greenfield markets where you want to be the market leader.

        Yes, I do like Amazon more then my comment implies, but I am highly skeptical about how DRM and ebooks will play out. By the time Amazon started selling DRM-free mp3s, it was already certain that that was the only winning strategy. Not so yet with DRM ebooks.

        I don't think Amazon is evil, but then again I don't think Microsoft is (or was) evi

        • by JasperHW (710218)

          which is the legal obligation of a publicly traded company.

          How does this nonsense keep getting trotted out? IANAL, but my understanding is that in the preamble of the ruling for the Dodge v Ford case (meaning not the legally binding part), the judge included a line finding that companies were for designed for profit and not charity.

          "Among non-experts, conventional wisdom holds that corporate law requires boards of directors to maximize shareholder wealth. This common but mistaken belief is almost invariably supported by reference to the Michigan Supreme Court's

          • by spinkham (56603)

            Because there is honest debate about whether your point of view is correct or not.

            The statutes largely do require corporations to act in the best interest of the shareholders, and in a relationship where the transactions are almost strictly monetary, that is largely taken to mean they must maximize stock value. There is debate as to whether other goals are allowed, and they are allowed mostly due to their potential impact on long term stock value.

            See this paper for a much closer look at the issue:
            http://ww [docstoc.com]

            • by JasperHW (710218)

              There is no law or ruling that obligates companies to "maximize their market share and stock price" that I'm aware of. If you know of one, please cite it. Otherwise, my refutation of that part of your post stands.

              Scholarly papers are not legally binding.

              • by spinkham (56603)

                There's plenty of citations in the paper I linked to.
                Here's a few:

                See, e.g.,CAL. CORP. CODE tit. 1, 309(a) (2004) (“in the best interests of the corporation and its
                shareholders”); NY CLS BUS. CORP. art. 7, 717(b) (2004) (“the long-term and the short-term interests of
                the corporation and its shareholders”); NRS tit. 7, 138(1) (2004) (“interests of the corporation”); Illinois
                Business Corporation Act of 1983 8.85, 805 ILCS 5 (2004) (“best long term and short term interests of the
                corporation”); N.J. STAT. tit. 14A, 14A:6-1 (2004) (“best inerest of the corporation”).

                As I stated above:

                The statutes largely do require corporations to act in the best interest of the shareholders, and in a relationship where the transactions are almost strictly monetary, that is largely taken to mean they must maximize stock value. There is debate as to whether other goals are allowed, and they are allowed mostly due to their potential impact on long term stock value.

                When a statement like the following is published without correction in a scholarly journal, the burden of proof is on the disbeliever:

                In the corporate law academy today in the United States, the dominant view is that corporate
                law requires managers to pursue a single aim: the maximization of stockholder profits.

                I won't quote the entire article except to say he's somewhat arguing for your side, and if you do want to make a case it's a good place to start ;-)
                Better link:
                http://law.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2238&context=expresso&sei-redir=1#search= [bepress.com]"Corporate-Law-Profit-Maximization

                • by JasperHW (710218)

                  Thank you, I'm not generally inclined to read 32 page scholarly papers posted in a comment thread unless there's more guidance to the info that proves a point than "it's somewhere in there". Page numbers would have been nice.

                  CAL. CORP. CODE tit. 1, 309(a) (2004) (“in the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders" NY CLS BUS. CORP. art. 7, 717(b) (2004) (“the long-term and the short-term interests of the corporation and its shareholders”) All of these from the same footnote

                  • by spinkham (56603)

                    Let's recap.
                    You said:
                    "How does this nonsense keep getting trotted out?"

                    I said: This "nonsense" keeps getting trotted out because there is honest debate on whether you are right or not.

                    Even a paper that tries to disprove the point states as it's first sentence:

                    In the corporate law academy today in the United States, the dominant view is that corporate
                    law requires managers to pursue a single aim: the maximization of stockholder profits.

                    If as a non-expert, you wish to dismiss as "nonsense" an opinion that is the dominant opinion of experts in the field, you must put forth overwhelming proof. That's the way it works, sorry.

                    If you say wish to say you "disagree" or "are not sure" you ca

                    • by spinkham (56603)

                      If you're claiming the truth of your statement, you need to tell me either:
                      1) Why I should believe you have a better grasp of corporate law then most subject matter experts
                      or
                      2) What proof you have that most subject matter experts agree with you.

                      I am not a legal expert nor do I wish to devote my life to becoming one which is why I appeal to legal experts to back up my claims. I suggest you either become an expert, or listen to them.

                      Otherwise, you're just some loon with delusions of grandeur giving his opi

                    • by spinkham (56603)

                      If you read the papers, nowhere does it say that my view was nonsense. To the contrary, it claims that it is the majority opinion.

                      You are more cocksure then the strongest dissenters to the majority view, and you know much less. Legal opinion is much less clear and based on more factors then you seem to think. I've never gotten a response back from a laywer that didn't start, "Well, it depends..."

                      I've offered up papers written by legal experts that show that:

                      1) my original comment was the majority opinion,

                    • by spinkham (56603)

                      You can claim it is opinion or claim it is untrue. You can't have it both ways.

                      I'm not claiming that it is opinion (unknowable and untestable) but debatable(evidence goes both ways, but most experts agree with me).

                      Therefore, to dissuade me, you need to prove that you are more knowledgeable than the experts, or that I am wrong about their legal opinion.

                      If you like, I'll modify it to this:
                      "to maximize their market share and hence stockholder profits, which widely understood by business law experts to be the l

              • by tater86 (628389)

                You cite Wikipedia, and you think you've refuted something? Until you're a judge presiding over a trial, your refutation of anything is worthless. Scholarly papers are a lot more likely to be cited and considered in a court decision than Wikipedia.

                • by JasperHW (710218)

                  Oh, excellent! You must have something to cite that shows that corporations are legally obligated to maximize market share and shareholder profit then?

                  No?

                  Well then...

            • by geekoid (135745)

              The article does not state or conclude that corporation on maximize profits. Did you even read and understand it?

              Did the author even look into other cases? pretty much every cane where a large corporation is investigate, its really clear that more is taken into account then maximizing profit. In fact, some corporations have gotten into a lot of trouble for making maximizing their profit the only goal.

              • by spinkham (56603)

                Yes, I read it and was struck that someone making a case for the opposite admitted it was not the majority opinion, and that much caselaw can be construed to point to that goal.

                Did you read the first line?

                In the corporate law academy today in the United States, the dominant view is that corporate
                law requires managers to pursue a single aim: the maximization of stockholder profits.

                This is my backing up of my case: Even the critics of the theory say that the majority of corporate law schools teach the view I espoused in my original post.
                For me , this means at minimum that JasperHW is misleading with his statement, "How does this nonsense keep getting trotted out?"

                It keeps getting tro

                • by JasperHW (710218)

                  And since schools *always* teach factually correct information and *never* spin it based on erroneous majority views or political agendas, we can take that as meaning that there's a law or ruling stating that maximizing marketshare and shareholder profit is an obligation of all corporations? And experts (not judges) are who determines legal precedent?

                  Where was the misleading statement again?

                  • by spinkham (56603)

                    The misleading statement was the fact that you called it "nonsense". You didn't call it "debatable" or "murky" like the scholarly papers attacking the idea do. You made a knowledge claim against expert opinion, with no substantial proof.

                    If you wish to call the majority opinion "nonsense", the burden of proof is on you. If you want to say "I have evidence that that is not the majority opinion of exports" or "I'm not convinced" that's one thing. Calling things you are not an expert on "nonsense" when most

                    • by spinkham (56603)

                      My assertion:

                      They are both just trying to do their best to maximize their market share and stock price, which is the legal obligation of a publicly traded company.

                      Expert opinion:

                      In the corporate law academy today in the United States, the dominant view is that corporate
                      law requires managers to pursue a single aim: the maximization of stockholder profits.

                      If you're claiming the truth of your statement, you need to tell me either:
                      1) Why I should believe you have a better grasp of corporate law then most subject matter experts
                      or
                      2) What proof you have that most subject matter experts agree with you.
                      or
                      3) What disconnect you see between my statement and the majority subject matter expert opinion.

                      I am not a legal expert nor do I wish to devote my life to becoming one which is why I appeal to legal experts to back up my claims. I suggest

      • The general impression I get is that most big companies control when they get away with it and are open only when external forces (either market, regulatory or otherwise) force them to be.

        The record labels decided that they would rather sacrifice DRM than let apple keep their lockin*. Amazon wasn't in the digital music market previously so they had nothing to lose from joining the DRM free move and once one retailer was selling DRM free everyone else had to follow or be selling an inferior product. The majo

    • by ynp7 (1786468)

      Perhaps you're not aware of this, but Amazon already has the huge market share. This is a move to introduce feature parity with competition while they are still the runaway leader in the industry, rather than when someone has closed the gap to 50% or something.

      • by spinkham (56603)

        I own a Kindle DX.

        It's a great hardware device. Top notch.

        It doesn't ready industry standard epub format. If they wanted to "close the functionality gap" they would be supporting the industry standard format which would allow people to get their content from anywhere. They want to close the gap *as little as possible* and still grow their market share, and there's no telling which way they will go next.

  • by mdm-adph (1030332) <mdmadph.gmail@com> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:17AM (#35892570) Homepage

    ...is will Amazon allow other devices to check out these books as well? That's one good thing about the existing EPUB/Overture system -- it doesn't restrict to what device you can download your books to.

    • The books (and the check-out system) are being supplied by an existing ePub-based libary book lender, OverDrive. One can guess that libraries will not have to buy Kindle-specific books separate from the ePub-lendable copies of the books they already get from the same vendor. As long as the number of copies outstanding at any one time is consistent, I can't imagine the publishers really care which format they are in.

  • ... Amazon To Let Libraries Kindle Books
  • They really need to reduce prices on ebooks. high price on new books is ok but if they don't drop the price it is not like they are getting part of used book sales. that or they need to enable ebook resale. preferably both. I love my kindle and this is pretty much its only down side that I really have a problem with.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Even some of the new books are way too high for a digital copy. 15 bucks for an eBook? no thanks.

      And some older book are also way to expensive, I wanted to red Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. It was written in 1929. 10 bucks. WTF?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Harvest [wikipedia.org]

      eBooks should be 4.99 or less. I suspect they will be. Too many authors starting to self publish for 99 cents and making a lot more then if they had gone through the traditional route.

      • Blame Apple.

        When iPad came out and forced Amazon to use the Agency model e-book prices shot through the roof. E-books from Amazon were commonly priced at 4.99 before this happened.

      • by vxice (1690200)
        There are plenty of works of fiction, not as many as there should be, that are below $5. Most are indie but they are still pretty good and it is about time indie books became big. The problem is most 'published' books. It kind of disappointed me that more research based books aren't cheaper but I kind of understand it. Unfortunately I am not really a avid fan of fiction.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:14AM (#35893260)

    Amazon is trying to speed the adoption of the Kindles. If people are slow to flock to the device the reason is the high prices the publishers cling to.

    Okay, I agree e-book prices are set artificially high. But where, exactly, did the rest of this come from? The Kindle 3 is Amazon's best-selling item ever [webpronews.com] - more people bought it than bought the best-selling Harry Potter tome. And we've all read the news that Amazon's e-books are already outselling hardcover books [mediaite.com], which isn't too shabby given the few years Kindle has even existed.

    And while I am happy there are competing products out there... I see a lot of Kindles on the train, and quite a few iPads (although fewer iPads than Kindles I'd guess). If there are riders with Nooks and Sony Readers, they're keeping them well-hidden. So it seems unlikely the article was drawing a more narrow distinction, say between the Kindle and some hypothetical better-selling competitor.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      My hacker* inclined friends usually by the Nook. Everyone else buys a kindle. IN fact, even my hacker inclined friends by a Kindle for their spouse.

      *I think as a group, we need to adopt the term 'Maker' for what hacker used to mean. Yes it sucks to have to change terms, but that battle has been lost.

    • by m5brane (322163)

      Why do you think ebook prices are artificially high? Amazon's pricing is perniciously low: they intentionally undercut other retailers, accepting real losses in the short-term to gain market advantage. This convinces consumers that the market value of an ebook is lower than the real production costs. All the services that go into making a book are still required: editing, design, PR, etc. These things cost money. Except now, with Amazon forcing prices (ebook and otherwise) to artificial lows, the publishers

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Why do you think ebook prices are artificially high? Amazon's pricing is perniciously low: they intentionally undercut other retailers, accepting real losses in the short-term to gain market advantage. This convinces consumers that the market value of an ebook is lower than the real production costs. All the services that go into making a book are still required: editing, design, PR, etc. These things cost money. Except now, with Amazon forcing prices (ebook and otherwise) to artificial lows, the publishers can't afford to pay the employees that used to be responsible for those aspects of producing a book.

        Right now, big publishers are typically keeping around 50% of the price of an ebook sale, and giving a whole 20% to the person who actually wrote the book. If they can't make money from taking $2.50 of a $4.99 ebook sale then they're doing something very wrong.

      • And most books receive a fraction of the editing they used to get.

        The following statement is not meant as an argument, just an observation - I think you make a number of excellent points.

        I think the drop in editing did not start with e-books - I've been noticing it with most books over the past 20-30 years. Especially with pop books like the Harry Potter series - a good editor could've pared those down by 40%-50% easily, and made them better.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          I think the drop in editing did not start with e-books - I've been noticing it with most books over the past 20-30 years. Especially with pop books like the Harry Potter series - a good editor could've pared those down by 40%-50% easily, and made them better.

          I've seen a number of published authors complain that their publishers have significantly cut back on editing and marketing for their books, and that it started well before ebooks became popular.

    • by Relayman (1068986)
      Numbers, please, not "best selling item ever." Oh, Amazon doesn't release numbers. Wonder why?
    • by IICV (652597)

      The Kindle 3 is Amazon's best-selling item ever - more people bought it than bought the best-selling Harry Potter tome.

      It's Amazon's best-selling item - but where can you get a Kindle at all, besides Amazon?

      The Harry Potter book, on the other hand, was available everywhere - in fact, I remember waiting around at the end of a line to get a copy at midnight at Borders, only to have a friend tell me that the supermarket down the street would have them available at midnight too and they didn't have a line.

  • Will all these books be ones that are too old to be copyrighted.
    • by sirwired (27582)

      These aren't free books; they are in-copyright books already supplied to libraries for limited-copy-checkout by an existing vendor, OverDrive.

  • I'm in the market for an ereader right now. I've considered everything from the Kobo (I'm in Canada) to the iPad; weighing the pros and cons of LED screens versus eInk, etc. I've decided to buy an eInk device for a few reasons (I'm a heavy reader so I benefit more from the specific pros of those devices), and I'll do so in the next month. I mention this in case Jeff Bezos is trolling Slashdot, because I won't be buying a Kindle, and the reason is almost 100% because of the lack of ePub support. I don't want
    • by brianerst (549609)

      Amazon is partnering with OverDrive, which is the major market leader for library lending. What all those libraries "are already doing" is generally linking with OverDrive (that's what my local library does).

      According to one version of the press release, any book currently offered by your library via OverDrive will be available on the Kindle at no additional charge to the library. What is unclear is whether that means that OverDrive will have two copies of each book (in ePub and MOBI/AZW format) and allow y

  • Amazon are doing great things for culture at the moment

    ( http://i.imgur.com/rgo9M.png [imgur.com] in case they fix it before you read this )

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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