Perhaps Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos heard what Apple’s Steve Jobs said about nobody reading anymore, because Amazon has purchased Audible. The company sells a wide range of downloadable audiobooks – including over 2500 children’s and YA titles – that purchasers can burn to a CD and load on to PCs and a wide variety of digital devices, including iPods.
I’ve heard of a number of libraries that are circulating inexpensive digital audio players with Audible audiobooks already loaded. But with the advent of Playaways – self-playing audiobooks that are popular in school and some public libraries (here’s the Playaways page from the Clermont County (OH) Public Library) – which Amazon already sells for $25 to $35 each, who knows how the audiobook market will shake out?
Meanwhile, some libraries are experimenting with lending Amazon’s Kindle e-book readers. Unfortunately, Kindles aren’t set up to be loaned, and librarians who are attempting to get the best info on how to loan them are getting conflicting reports. A library blogger who goes by the single name of Rochelle, who seems to be from La Crosse, WI, gives her story here. Her posts (there are two) are long and a bit complex, so you should go and read them if you’re interested. She says:
Right around the time Kindle was released, I read the Terms of Service, curious to see if or how Kindle readers could be used in public libraries. My interpretation of the TOS said “NO,”
You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party
… but that’s only the beginning of Rochelle’s investigation of Kindles in the library.
From everything I know about the Kindle (especially its high $399 price), it doesn’t seem practical to lend. I mean, is there a demand for it? Are users banging at the door to borrow Kindles? In fact, are they asking for e-books, period? I just haven’t seen or heard folks asking for them at all, especially on the part of kids and teens. If you know about people asking for e-books at your library, I’d love to hear about it.