Library eBook lending via Amazon and OverDrive

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imageEarlier today Amazon announced that later this year they and OverDrive will launch an eBook lending service for Kindle devices and Kindle apps that members of thousands of libraries in the U.S. will be able to use.

Details are still coming out, and both the Twitterverse (#azod) and the Biblioblogosphere have erupted in conversations of sorts peppered with lots of speculation.  Questions abound:  How will this work?  What file format and DRM scheme will be used?  What are the privacy concerns?  Even if this is good news for readers who use Kindle hardware, software, and content, is this good for public libraries?

Over the coming days and weeks David Rothman, I, and other contributors to LibraryCity will be exploring and discussing what this may mean.  Right now, two hours since I first learned of this development, my mind keeps coming back to this basic question:  What is the future for public good institutions such as libraries in the dawning eReading era?  How will the Amazon-OverDrive alliance affect libraries, especially public libraries?

I think all the major stakeholder groups in the future of public libraries as public good institutions in the eReading era need to have a open conversation very soon to get into action mode.  This includes ALA, OCLC, LOC, COSLA, the Internet Archive, the DPLA team, Hathi Trust, LibraryRenewal, etc.  Representatives from stakeholding foundations should be encouraged to attend, too:  Sloan, Mellon, Gates, etc.  No need to fly to Cambridge (MA) or Dublin (OH) for this vital conversation.  We can do it online via web conferencing.  I have access to an online room I’ll make available for this and any future meetings that need to happen.  Let’s do this real soon.  Don’t wait for ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in June.

[Update: See posts in eBook Newser, the OverDrive blog, and elsewhere. – D.R.]

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