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January 18, 2011


Sarah McDaniel

Thanks for blazing this particular trail.
We've been thinking about e-books for our program (same book - http://gobigread.wisc.edu) but so far we've stopped at researching their availability and making them available through the library. Maybe individual copies will be easier by the time we get to next fall.


Hi Sarah-

I'll put you in touch with my Amazon contact once you select your book-- I'm curious to see what you select next.



I think Amazon gave you a bad deal. If you went to Publisher's Row you could have received access to hundreds of books for much less money or trouble.


I wonder: did you get any comments from users of other ebook devices? The Nook is becoming very popular, as is the Sony Reader, but, unless I'm wildly mistaken, they can't read Amazon-formatted files.

If I may share a brief rant: I think the popularity of the Kindle puts us in a bad place. Out of the main ereader makers, they're probably the most hostile to libraries. There is no Overdrive service for the Kindle, nor have I heard of any plans to release one. I feel strongly that we shouldn't give any more money to Amazon. BUT the Kindle is probably the most familiar ereader on the market, meaning our patrons 1) own them or 2) might like to use them. It's a spin on an old collection development problem: go with what's popular, or go with what's best?


Amazon was actually pretty cool to work with. I had one staff member ask about a Nook-- but largely I've seen Kindles on campus. That's where all the hype is... plus we could only afford one platform and we went with the most popular one. But indeed-- going to be tough issue for libraries looking ahead when there are a bunch of completing hardware and software options. Thanks for reading!

Lis Carey

Had I been one of your students, I'd have had no interest in a Kindle book, because I have a Nook, and Amazon won't allow its files to be read on the Nook.

And when people see my Nook, they refer to it as my Kindle. They're surprised when I tell them it's not a Kindle, it's a Nook. So I don't take too seriously comments like, "what I see around are Kindles."

Finally, Amazon is fairly hostile to libraries, and won't participate in Overdrive. Why should libraries be promoting Kindle, when Amazon won't support libraries with digital access? The fact that they cooperated in your giveaway means nothing; it was a chance to promote their device, which can't be used to borrow materials from your library.

Liz Sprague

Lis, I could't agree with you more. I own a Nook (my new best friend) and I am a librarian. Puts me in a bit of a different light, maybe. I chose the Nook because of the ability to download many free ebooks from the Overdrive system and the many free ebooks offered by Barnes and Noble. When I think of Amazon, I think of big business. The Kindle is incompatible with the many library sites. So, why, as a librarian, would I even consider a Kindle? Barnes & Noble is a bookseller, period. That is how they became what they are today. They get 100% of my support. If Amazon is trying to corner the market, or so they think. We libraries still exist!!!


Feeling lots of Amazon love here. I think maybe people are missing the bigger theme. I was really trying to explore the transition away from print and how we (as librarians) will have to tackle that process over next decade. This wasn't meant to serve as an endorsement for Kindle, but rather a report on an experiment with ebooks.

Millions of people (patrons) have Kindles so should we just say "we're a Nook-only library" and ignore their device. We have to be open to various platforms. It's kind of like all the Windows people who refuse to help Mac users. In the future we need to strive to be platform agnostic -- but I didn't have that option when this came together last summer.

My approach was just a dabble-- I went with Amazon because they made it easy and they have the most popular device. Ideally I wish that the publisher, Random House, would sell me copies that worked on various devices so that I could please everyone, but they are not in that business yet.

The objective of our program is to get people to read, think, and talk about intellectual issues. The container doesn't really matter, it's the action of reading and what happens afterwards.

Thanks for reading and commenting though-- interesting to see that Nook is emerging as the eReader of choice for librarians. Personally I prefer the iPad-- I think it trumps both devices but that's another story. This wasn't meant to be about one device or another, but rather about generating interest in reading.

Ilene Frank

Nook, Kindle.. whatever. That particular book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is available from more than one vendor - more than one format. Brian could have tackled that so his users could have used either e-reader - but like others, I applaud him to taking this on! I wonder if Amazon could have just given you a "coupon code" which you could have given out and let Amazon figure out how to limit the number of downloads to 100. That would have been easier!

Rebecca Behrens

This is interesting -- I bought a Kindle when it first made it's debut. Although I still appreciate reading from an actual book, I like being able to retrieve/buy a book at any time. It will be interesting to see how libraries will accomodate this technology.

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