E-Book Loopholes for Librarians

In an exploration of the ramifications of Amazon’s recent decision to delete unlicensed Kindle e-books by George Orwell and reimburse the owners, The Wall St. Journal also looks in to how eBook issues might affect libraries.

Public libraries have wrestled with the question of whether Amazon’s terms of service allows them to lend Kindles. The Journal points to yet another ambiguity,

Scott Bloom, director of student services and curriculum for Milton-Union Exempted Village School District in Ohio, recently purchased 11 Kindles for his 1st through 5th grade students this fall. He bought more than 100 books — but only one license for each, even though he has put a copy on each of his Kindles. He has looked, but hasn’t seen any fine print from Amazon telling him that’s not allowed. Amazon declined to comment.

The Journal then notes that the Seattle Public Library offers downloadable ebooks from OverDrive and throws in a question about what would happen to library e-book collections if the company went under, or there was a massive loss of digital content. Clearly, the reporter hasn’t spent much time with librarians, who have found many adaptive approaches to these issues ever since the first magazine and journal databases began to supplement and replace collections of print publications decades ago.

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