Amazon announced on Wednesday that it would be changing its Kindle policy on library e-book borrowing. Amazon will work with OverDrive, the company that provides most ebooks to libraries, to make its device compatible with the current lending system.
As it stands now, only the Nook by Barnes & Noble and Sony’s Reader can take advantage of e-lending. However, Kindle owns two-thirds of the e-reader market, according to the Wall Street Journal, which would make this new policy a big deal for both Kindle owners and libraries. Amazon has not yet said when e-lending will be available on the Kindle.
E-lending works very similar to regular book lending, in that only one person can rent out a copy of a book at a time. Despite there being no physical book, once an e-book copy is rented out the library must purchase another copy if it wants to rent that same title out a second time. Lending periods are determined by the libraries, but tend to run between two and three weeks.
One group that is generally none too happy with these new e-lending policies is the publishing world. Many experts believe the e-lending trend has the potential to dramatically affect sales. Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, two of the country’s largest publishing houses, have yet to allow e-book lending on their titles.
Another major publisher, HarperCollins, recently revised its e-lending policy. It now requires libraries to purchase a new copy of its e-books after a title has been checked out 26 times. What do you think? Could e-lending revolutionize the way libraries operate? Will all the major publishers eventually jump on board?