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Old 07-29-2010, 09:36 PM   #1
Tinks
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Kindle & Library Books

Why in the world doesn't the Kindle allow you to check out library books(on Overdrive)? This is such a HUGE negative. So many other e-readers allow it that you would think Amazon would want to be competitive on this as well. Any thoughts as to why they don't have this option?
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:41 PM   #2
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Amazon wants their customers to buy books in their own proprietary Kindle format.
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Old 07-30-2010, 01:04 AM   #3
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Amazon has no business interest in 1) complicating the Kindle and having to provide support for it and 2) paying money to license Overdrive operability so that people can borrow books instead of buying them.

And since it hasn't hurt Amazon's competitiveness at all, it's hard to argue they've made the wrong decision.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tinks View Post
Why in the world doesn't the Kindle allow you to check out library books(on Overdrive)?
Because Overdrive uses epub, and the Kindle, alas, does not.

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Any thoughts as to why they don't have this option?
It doesn't fit their business model. Remember, they're in the market to sell you books. The Kindle is just a means to that end.
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by whitearrow View Post
Amazon has no business interest in 1) complicating the Kindle and having to provide support for it and 2) paying money to license Overdrive operability so that people can borrow books instead of buying them.

And since it hasn't hurt Amazon's competitiveness at all, it's hard to argue they've made the wrong decision.
I understand that they want you to buy books, but they're also making a profit by just selling the Kindle to you. In this economy I would think more and more people have done what I did. Instead of buying every book I wanted to read(most of wich I only read 1 time), I go to my local library and check out books for free. It may not be hurting Amazon's competitiveness yet, but eventually more people may start having a new appreciation of there local libraries when they see there budget dwindling from buying so many books. I know I did. I feel rather embarassed at just how much money I have spent over the years buying so many books when the majority of what I read could have easily been picked up at the library.
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:58 AM   #6
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It doesn't fit their business model. Remember, they're in the market to sell you books. The Kindle is just a means to that end.
Barnes & Noble is in the market to sell me books as well. I think they realize though, that buying an ereader without Overdrive capabilities will not make me any more likely to buy more books from them versus an ereader that does have Overdrive. If I bought an ereader that I couldn't check digital library books out on, I would just read the book on my computer for free. I guess what I'm trying to say is I would buy the same amount of books on the Kindle as I would, say on the Nook, regardless of whether Overdrive was on it. So at least B&N(or whoever supports Overdrive) is getting a profit from me buying the ereader, and whatever books I do decide to purchase.
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Old 07-30-2010, 11:14 AM   #7
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I was interested in how many ebook readers actually read ebooks borrowed from a library. So I created a Poll in the General Discussions forum since I wanted input from users of all reading devices and brands.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92699
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Old 07-30-2010, 11:58 AM   #8
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Having to access an Overdrive server would complicate the Amazon way of handling books. It would require either accessing it via computer, then moving to the Kindle, or accessing the server via Whispernet, which would add up to extra 3G costs over time, plus licensing, of course. Which is adding more requirements for using the Kindle than currently exist.
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Old 07-30-2010, 01:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tinks View Post
I understand that they want you to buy books, but they're also making a profit by just selling the Kindle to you.
I doubt amazon makes any profit by selling you the hardware alone, neither does the nook - I heard a B&N manager saying by selling every nook, they are loosing about $80 apiece. These readers are made in China, and in China all the local brands that are not remotely as good as Kindle/nook are selling at least twice the price as Kindle/nook. Unlike Amazon and B&N which can recover their lost on the device from ebook sales, Chinese brands do not have a book store to support, so they have to charge the full cost of the unit which is about 2 to 3 times the price tag of Kindle/nook. This is also true in other countries that does not have such a big book store back behind, these devices have higher price tags in Europe and Australia also although not as extreme as the Chinese market.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:18 PM   #10
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I would like to think we'll see Kindle added to Overdrive eventually. Each party has good reasons to go forward with it, though it appears to be low on Amazon's priorities.

Overdrive already supports Mobipocket and that would translate readily to Kindle since only the DRM is different. Amazon would just need to license Kindle DRM (the way mobipocket DRM is now) and update Kindle software to respect the lending mode DRM scheme. Again, they can just clone what's already done in the Mobipocket software since they own it.

Note that Amazon would not provide content. Content is what Overdrive brings, by negotiating lending rights directly from publishers. So there's no whispernet bandwidth involved unless a library patron chooses to email the content to their Kindle instead of moving it over the wire, in which case Amazon charges the customer for the bandwith used.

In terms of selling more Kindle hardware, there's no reason for Amazon not to do this - library lending is one of the few competitive advantages other ebook readers enjoy vs Kindle. And it would be better to have them read content from non-Amazon sources on a Kindle rather than on a competing device - at least the device is connected to the Kindle Store rather than a competitor's.

Would people buy a Kindle without ever purchasing any content from Amazon? Sure. They do that now - there's enough free, high quality content available to last several lifetimes, as well as sources for paid content. So adding libraries as a source of free (and time-limited) content isn't going to impact Amazon sales that much.

There's also an argument that publicly funded institutions should not be playing 'favorites' in offering ebook lending services. Certainly they should be supporting something with Kindle's current market share. So libraries should feel some motivation to pressure Overdrive into providing content for Kindles, and patrons with Kindles should be demanding such services - their tax dollars are paying for it.

So I would give it a year or two, maybe sooner. Amazon surely understands this requirement well, and will move ahead when it makes the most sense for their business.

Last edited by tomsem; 07-30-2010 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:26 PM   #11
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I don't know what Overdirve charges but wouldn't they also have to pay Adobe to license their DRM?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitearrow View Post
Amazon has no business interest in 1) complicating the Kindle and having to provide support for it and 2) paying money to license Overdrive operability so that people can borrow books instead of buying them.

And since it hasn't hurt Amazon's competitiveness at all, it's hard to argue they've made the wrong decision.
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Old 07-30-2010, 02:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinks View Post
I understand that they want you to buy books, but they're also making a profit by just selling the Kindle to you.
Not much of one, according to past analysis of what the Kindle components cost.

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In this economy I would think more and more people have done what I did. Instead of buying every book I wanted to read(most of wich I only read 1 time), I go to my local library and check out books for free.
Have you actually checked ebook availability at your local library? If yours has a good selection with lots of titles always available, you are lucky. I live in a county of 3 million people, and my county library system has only about 200 titles available in ePub format total, and nearly all of them are "unavailable" all the time. You have to place a hold and wait up to 2 weeks for each person ahead of you.

I know there are places you can pay a fee for a yearly subscription, etc., but for me, there are enough free books I can get for my Kindle each day to help keep my book spending reasonable. Part of the joy of an e-reader is instant gratification, and my local library system certainly doesn't cut it for me, in terms of either titles available or the "instant" part.

(Besides, you do know there are hacks to make Overdrive books usable on a Kindle, right?)
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitearrow View Post

(Besides, you do know there are hacks to make Overdrive books usable on a Kindle, right?)
If you mean Overdrive ePub, it involves stripping the DRM, a big no-no.

If you mean Overdrive MOBI, yes there is a python script that will "trick" your kindle into thinking the file is acceptable. But Overdrive MOBI is far less prevalent that ePub.
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:15 PM   #14
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My library has nearly as many Mobi ebooks as ePubs. I don't know how common they are elsewhere.
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:18 PM   #15
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I like being able to read the book I want, when I want. The library was great when I was unemployed and could not justifying paying for books but I hated waiting for the books I wanted to be returned. I found other books to read but was not thrilled with waiting a month for a three year old book to be available.

The library will be great when I have kids and want to get new books without buying a ton of books.

For the most part, I prefer buying books. If someone is interested in an ebook reader for library books, the Kindle is not the best option. The good news is that there are other ereaders that are easy to use at the library, like the Nook, Kobo, and Sony.
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