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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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October 2016
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Kindle Library Lending Off to a Slow Start

Kindle Library Lending debuted last year, and has shown modest growth, but has a ways to go before it really takes off.  The number of libraries that offer the service has grown tremendously, but the selection of books offered has not.

My local library offers access to e-books for the Kindle, Nook, and other electronic devices.  But, I rarely find anything I like.  If I do, it already has a waiting list a mile long.

One of the biggest barriers to the program is reaction from publishers.  The Big 6 are having a hard time relinquishing their books for borrowing because they’re afraid that it will make a big dent in sales.

I read an article earlier today that got me thinking more about this dilemma, and I began to mull over ideas suggested in the article that might help them get over their fears.

E-books are easier to get and transport than regular books.  So publishers are afraid that book sales will go the way of music sales did about 10 years ago.

I think with careful handling through licensing, a compromise can be reached.  The result would be a benefit for both libraries and publishers.  By adding e-books to their collection, libraries can shake their old stereotypes and offer something that is new and exciting.

For publishers, the benefit is the exposure to books that can lead to a purchase.  There are people who borrow books from a library, like them a lot, then purchase them to read again.

Another option is to join Amazon Prime and use the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.  It has a much broader selection, but you can only check out one a month.  I have checked out a lot more books from there than from my library.  I am currently waiting very impatiently until the next month to download the third book in the Hunger Games Series on my Kindle.

I think it is important to still get the word out about e-book borrowing in libraries.  Increasing the demand for books can’t hurt.  Just remember, it is the publishers not the libraries themselves, that are setting the book limits.  I hope to see a future where both print and e-books will be readily available to library patrons globally.

 

 

 

Kindle Touch Hidden Gem

There is one issue with my Kindle that I wish Amazon would make more intuitive.  That issue is deleting books directly from my Kindle.  I understand that there is a lot of room for books on the device itself, but often, people would like to get rid of books that aren’t really serving any purpose anymore.

On my Kindle 2, I just slid the 5 way toggle button to the side and it gave me a menu option to remove a book or game from the e-reader.  I just figured out how to do this randomly when I was maneuvering around on it.

Figuring out how to delete books are little more difficult on the Kindle Touch, but once you know the trick, it is quite easy.  If you have an iPad or iPhone you have to press down the app for a few seconds, and an x will pop up and allow you to close or delete the app.

Using this same idea based on the iPhone delete commands, I pressed down on a book on my Kindle’s Home screen for a few seconds and sure enough, a dialog box popped up giving me an option to delete the book.

So why is this worth mentioning?  Now that you can check out Kindle Books from the library or Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, there are a lot of books coming and going.  When you return a book, the title still shows up in the list, and says “recently returned.”

Frankly, they are annoying, and can really clutter up the device’s library.  They also hide the books you actually need or want.

A friend asked me once how to do this, so I thought I’d pass it along in case you were wondering the same thing.

And don’t worry, even if you delete a book from your Kindle, it remains stored in your account on Amazon.  You can always re download it on any Kindle or Kindle app supported device at any time.

 

 

Lower Kindle Book Prices are Inevitable

When the publishers jacked up the prices a couple years ago on bestsellers and other popular e-books for the Kindle, they suddenly lost some appeal.  $9.99 or less for New York Times bestsellers sounded like a deal.  $11.99-14.99?  Not so much.

However, the rising prices have opened up several other free and inexpensive alternatives.  There are a ton of low priced Kindle books out there.  There are also free Kindle book lists and Kindle Library lending.  If you have time to sort through the lists, you will find some good stories mixed in.

The high prices on the big names also gave self published authors a boost.  Kindle Direct Publishing allows anyone to publish a book.  Some very successful independent authors have rivaled the big name authors with numbers of books sold. I remember the days when getting published was a feat accomplished only by a select few who had what it takes to get the attention of the major publishing houses.

There are still a lot of people who weigh the ability to share print editions, and are more willing to pay a higher cost for them.  There’s something about being able to pass a book around between friends and family members that can’t be recreated with a Kindle.  Now that the Kindle is in the hands of mainstream consumers, there is a much bigger group to share books with via the Kindle lending program. So, I can definitely see a future of e-book sharing that can rival the print book sharing idea.

So, I think it is only a matter of time before we start seeing lower prices on even the huge bestsellers.  In the end, it really is a consumer’s market.  In this economy, consumers are looking for the best bargains.

They won’t be able to compete otherwise.  Will all of these independent authors who got the chance to shine lose their visibility if this occurs?  That will be an interesting trend to watch.

 

 

Kindle Owner’s Lending Library Adds More Titles

The Kindle Owner’s Lending Library is a service for Amazon Prime members that lets you download a book a month for free.  There is no due date for the book once you check it out. For $79 a year, you can get free two day shipping, access to unlimited movie streaming, and the ability to check out a book each month.

At the launch I wasn’t totally thrilled with the selection available, but now, it has grown to over 100,000! titles.  The collection includes books from both large publishing houses and independent authors.  Independent authors have really made a name for themselves with Kindle Direct Publishing.

You will also find a number of bestsellers on the list.  Although, I have yet to see the bestsellers that are at the very top.  There are still some bestselling books that I have been eyeing for months, but they are still in high demand at the library, and are still expensive by e-book standards.

Amazon has the clout to make a “Netflix for books” of sorts.  Netflix offers all of the popular movies, so I don’t see why this can’t be done for Kindle e-books.  That service would probably have to come at a higher cost eventually to appease publishers.

The Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and Kindle Library Lending go a long way to help ease the burden of skyrocketing prices that are showing up for e-books.  They also reach out to readers who can’t get to a brick and mortar library or bookstore.  I hope that these services can work together to provide a delightful reading experience for everyone who reads e-books.

So, just keep an eye out on the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library’s book list.  It is growing constantly, so if you hold out for awhile, the top bestsellers will most likely eventually show up on there.

There is one thing I wish that Amazon would do.  The page for the service could showcase the genres a little better.  The Kindle Store does a good job of this.  The Lending Library could do the same.  Otherwise, it has a lot of potential, and can only get better.

Amazon Kindle Borrowing Scares Penguin Away From Helping Libraries

Obviously there has often been a bit of strain in the relationship between publishers and libraries, much of the time with arguments along the same lines as those currently used against media piracy, but eBooks have been an especially touchy issue.  To illustrate how serious they are about disliking eBooks in general and the Kindle in particular, with regard to lending at least, Penguin has chosen to abandon eBook availability in libraries entirely for the time being.  This is hardly the first time a major publisher or even Penguin in particular has reacted publicly against eBook lending, but it could be the first time there was anything resembling a sane rationale behind it.

At the moment, the vast majority of libraries in the US offer any eBooks they have available to borrow using the OverDrive service.  As essentially the only major platform that libraries have the option of using, pulling out of OverDrive means pulling out of libraries.  Unfortunately, publishers see the partnership that this service has developed with Amazon to provide Kindle compatibility as being damaging.  Currently when a Kindle owner wants to borrow a library book, they pass through Amazon’s web page.  This allows the retailer an opportunity to offer suggestions or advertisements and thereby potentially monetize library lending.  There is ample evidence that publishers really dislike Amazon and the Kindle platform in general already, and this extra bit of opportunity is even more of a problem than the already distasteful fact that libraries let people read without spending money.

Sadly, this could spur some of the competition for OverDrive into a more prominent position.  3M, for example, is working on ways to take a part of that market for themselves with a new service by giving publishers more of what they want in terms of control.  What do publishers want?  Mostly they want things complicated.  An oft-expressed complaint about eBook lending is that it is too fluid.  Borrowers should be required, they maintain, to be at the library when they borrow at the very least and even that is a minimum standard.  As much friction as possible is desired so that eBooks do not become more convenient than paper books.  The 3M example is particularly relevant since they are discussing offering kiosks that users would be required to use any time they want to borrow an eBook.  While it defeats the point for many people, these publishers would generally prefer them not to borrow in the first place anyway.

Now, pulling out of OverDrive over Amazon’s sales opportunities makes sense in a few ways given the concern about the company’s increasing influence and the fact that other OverDrive partners don’t have similar options.  By offering no alternatives and openly embracing a philosophy of obstruction regarding eReading as a whole, however, Penguin is sending a message to their customers that they just don’t care who gets hurt by their sluggish reaction to new media.  They want to drive people away from the Kindle by making life harder for Kindle users, but really this just damages their own position.  Making a move like this without offering libraries other options was at best premature.

OverDrive Gets a Huge Membership Boost after Launching Kindle Library Lending

The Kindle Library Lending service launched in the fall of 2011 started with 11.000 libraries.  The number has grown to about 15,000 libraries and counting in the US, and 18,000 worldwide.  This new service offered via a partnership between Amazon and OverDrive has been very instrumental in facilitating this big jump in membership. more

Kindle Library Lending is available to anyone who has an e-ink Kindle, Kindle Fire, or Kindle reading app.  The books can be downloaded via Wi-Fi or USB.  Loan periods vary by library.

So it looks like a win win situation for both parties.  Customers who want to keep a book can purchase them on Amazon.  Amazon has the broad customer base and selection of books to bring to the table.  I do hope that they can eliminate some of the steps to downloading a book.  In some cases it takes a lot of digging to even find the e-book collection on the library’s website.

OverDrive is the repository that is used for holding digital book collections.  This includes both e-books and audiobooks.  The e-book collections are available on the Kindle, Nook, and any other e-reader that supports ePub format.  E-books can also be accessed on the computer.  If the service is offered at your local library, a link to it should be fairly prominent on the library’s website.

Most states have a digital library account with OverDrive.  North Carolina’s is called the NC Digital Library.  From there, select libraries subscribe to the account and offer e-books.  If your library doesn’t currently offer them, keep checking back.  More libraries are constantly being added to the service.  I see articles about individual libraries launching e-book lending all the time.

Between Kindle Library Lending from my local library and the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, I’ve been able to find a lot of good reading material for free.  There are also a lot of reduced priced Kindle books available as well.  Each month features 100 Kindle Books under $3.99.  The major bestsellers aren’t available on either yet unfortunately, but they do offer a chance to explore new authors and catch up on older bestsellers.

 

The Role of E-Books in School Libraries

Since the Kindle and other e-reader have been available, there’s been speculation of how they would do in the K-12 environment.  A few schools across the US have piloted programs that provide Kindles for students.  The Kindles would hold all of the student’s textbooks and any other school related reading material.

This past year is the first year that kids have had a real opportunity to use a Kindle.  It is now cheap and easy enough for them to use.  it also now includes a huge collection of children’s books and games.

A recent article in American Libraries, a publication run by the American Library Association, focused on e-books in school libraries.  I was surprised to read that a lot of the books commonly read in K-12 are not available on the Kindle yet, like The Catcher in the Rye or To Kill A Mockingbird.  There are many classics currently available on the Kindle for free, however.

There are still many hang ups before school libraries can provide e-books, but the Kindle Library Lending program has shown great success in public libraries. So I can definitely see it coming to school libraries in the near future.  Getting the publishers on board and establishing a payment plan are the biggest hurdles.

Now, on to the benefits.  If Kindles and e-books were available in school libraries, the lure of technology would be enough to entice more kids into reading.  The point that the article made about seeing one page at a time is a really good one.  A lot of kids get overwhelmed by thick books, and often compare thickness to how advanced their reading level is.  Kids can feel free to read what they enjoy and not worry about what their peers might think.

The future will bring much lighter backpacks.  Now that the Kindle Fire is out and is more graphic friendly than traditional e-ink versions, graphic heavy textbooks have a better platform to use.  All textbooks and other reading material can be stored in one tiny little device that is compact enough to fit in a purse.

With a Kindle, there’s no need for large print books.  Visually impaired children can carry a Kindle around just like everyone else, and can adjust the font to fit their needs.  The Kindle is not accessible for the blind yet, but hopefully this issue will be addressed as more people use e-readers.

Technology is changing the face of libraries and the way we view reading.  I am excited to see what the future brings.

 

New York Public Library Launches E-book Central

From January 4th-13th, the New York Public library is stepping up their efforts to help new owners of the Kindle and other e-readers learn how to download e-books from the library’s vast digital collection.

NYPL has over 22,000 e-books ready to check out, and in addition to on site help through trained reference librarians, the library system has also launched a website called E-Book Central.

Lending Kindle e-books in libraries is a fairly new service, but as a librarian I see first hand how much a service like E-Book Central is needed.  I get questions about it often at the library where I work.  E-reader sales this holiday season were record breaking, so the demand is  much greater.  Just like regular books, good Kindle books are snatched up quickly.

The process for checking out e-books is quite simple once you find the book you want.  The New York Public Library provides a detailed, step by step guide for downloading e-books from their collection onto any mobile device or e-reader.

Two things you need before you start: An Amazon account, and an account with your local library that supports Kindle e-books.  If you don’t have a Kindle itself, there are apps for the Mac, PC, smartphones, and iPad that you can download for free.

Kindle books from the public library appear in your Kindle’s home screen just like other books.  After the check out time is up, it will automatically disappear.  Check out times usually run anywhere from 7-21 days depending on the library.

Now that the Kindle Library Lending program is up and running, I hope more libraries will follow NYPL’s example and provide more formal e-book training for their patrons.  Many libraries don’t have the staff or time available to dedicate to a project like this, but it is something that would save time in the long run.

So, if you live in NYC, see the E-Book Central website for dates and times when training is available, or check out the guides for checking out e-books on different mobile devices.

A First Hand Look at How Kindle Library Lending Works

There have been several posts about the Amazon Kindle Library Lending program that was launched earlier this fall on here, but there hasn’t really been a good explanation of how the whole thing works.  With that in mind, I found a good step by step guide for searching for and downloading Kindle books from your local library.

My local library recently added the program, and I downloaded a book on my Kindle Touch.  There isn’t a huge selection available yet, but I can tell that they are steadily adding new titles.  Authors such as Janet Evanovich and James Patterson are available on the list.

I think the biggest challenge for library patrons is getting to the list of e-books that the library offers.  Durham County Library hides their e-book link under a series of pages, so I have to really dig to find it.  Placing a link in a prominent place so that patrons can access it will go a long way to help this program flourish.

Once you find the link, the process kind of guides you through each step.  Search for the book you want.  Click on the “Get for Kindle” link.  You will then be taken to your Amazon account where you just click “Get Library Book.”  A more detailed overview, and video of the process can be found here.

The check out time varies by library.  14 days is about the average length.  The downloaded book becomes part of the list of titles on your Kindle, and you can view it in your digital items list on you Amazon account.

Most of the newer Kindles rely on wi-fi, however, even if you don’t have wi-fi access, you can hook up your Kindle to the computer and download the book via USB.  You can choose that option when viewing the library book in your digital items list.  That option came in handy when I was stuck out in the middle of the country with no wi-fi access.  I love how this program brings the library to you rather than you having to drive to a physical location.

So, I encourage you to check out your library’s website to see if they offer Kindle e-books.  The number of libraries offering the service is growing, and will continue to do so.  If you can’t find a link to it on the  library’s website, librarians and staff are always there to help.

Don’t have a Kindle?  You can download library books on all of the Kindle apps for the computer, iPad, and smartphones just like you do with other Kindle e-books.

 

 

What Impact will Kindle Library Lending Have on E-book Sales?

If you follow the e-book publisher news, you might have seen some mention of the major publisher Penguin Group’s decision to take away, then restore their titles to OverDrive.  OverDrive is used by many libraries to deliver e-books to their patrons.  States including North Carolina have a digital library that is run through OverDrive, and it is the place where patrons have to go to download books for all e-readers, tablets, and smartphones.

A couple of months ago, Amazon began offering Kindle e-books to 11,000 and counting libraries nationwide through a partnership with OverDrive.  The service is extremely popular with library patrons, and there are already long waiting lists for popular titles.

Penguin will restore their titles at least until the end of 2011, and is working with OverDrive to write up some regulations that will fit their needs.

Does this whole issue mean that publishers are starting to freak out about whether allowing library lending will impact their e-book sales?  Probably.  But at the same time, it is also adding libraries to their consumer list.  Libraries have to purchase copies of the e-books just like they do regular ones.  I wonder if there was a big fight with the publishers when libraries started buying books way back when?

I think that the bigger thing that is hurting e-book sales overall is the higher prices.  Kindle e-book prices have gone as high as $16.99, which no one could reconcile paying that for an e-book unless there is no other cheaper option.  The good news is that there are plenty of Kindle e-books out there that are free or reduced price. Most of them are older ones, or ones written by self published authors.

On another thought, in the past, library patrons have checked out newly released books at the library, and then purchased them later if they really liked them.  The same idea will most likely go for e-books.

I can understand the fear that books might end up like music once did with the rise of Napster and other music sharing sites.  I can also understand that it is important to make everything secure so no one gets misled.  But, I think that it is important to keep the consumers in mind because they are the ones who are reading the books.

It will be interesting to see what other major publishers such as HarperCollins and Random House do as Kindle library lending becomes more popular.

Best Places to find Free Kindle Books

There are many options on where to find free Kindle books.  Amazon has dedicated a page to list all of the options.  The only catch is that you really have to be diligent about tracking the special promotions.  They disappear quickly.

First off, the Kindle Store has limited time promotions on different books.  I’ve found some good ones through the Top 100 Free Kindle books list.  This list is updated hourly, so if you see one you like, grab it immediately.  the list includes popular free games such as Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles.

The free books offered by the Kindle Store are mostly romantic or religious themed.  But, if you take some time to look through the list, you can find some books with a good storyline.  It is a great opportunity to explore new authors who don’t get the recognition from the big name publishers.

Pre 1923 classics can be found in a variety of places.  Project Gutenberg is one of the original sources for free e-books.  It currently has a collection that includes roughly 30,000 titles.  You can download the books to your Kindle via USB.

Amazon’s free book page provides links to Project Gutenberg, as well as other internet based e-books.  Open Library, ManyBooks.net, and Internet Archive offer up to millions of titles.  For web based e-books and limited previews, check out Google books.

Some great programs were launched this Fall: Kindle Library Lending and Kindle Owner’s Library Lending.  Kindle Library Lending is available in 11,000 and counting libraries across the US.  Most libraries have a widget somewhere on their website that directs you to their Kindle books available through OverDrive.  My local public library just added Kindle Library Lending, and it offers a mix up new and old books.  There is already a waiting list on many of them.

Amazon Prime members can access the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.  It is a Netflix for books type deal.  You can only check out one book a month, but it doesn’t have a due date.  The library includes over 5000 books.  Lots of bestsellers in the collection.  One thing to note is that you have to download the book directly from your Kindle direction instead of on Amazon’s website.

So, to sum it up, there are tons of free e-book options available for all of the Kindles.  The great thing about the free classics is that you can use them for school.  The physical books are not that expensive, but with a lot of them it can add up.  Free is always good!

I’m hoping that if I wait long enough, the Steve Jobs biography and other major bestsellers will be available for lending.  But, that will probably be awhile.

 

Kindle Library Lending

I work in a library, so I often get questions about how the Kindle Library Lending program works.  It is a new program so it hasn’t really gotten too popular yet, but it shows promise of being a great success.

The program is currently available in roughly 11,000 libraries. For North Carolina, there is a North Carolina Digital Library that is a local subset of OverDrive that includes the Kindle e-books.  I’m sure there are equivalents in other states. The Kindle Library Lending program is a partnership with OverDrive, the website that handles most digital library books, including ones for the Nook and iPad.

On a participating library’s main page, there is usually a widget or ad saying that they have books available for the Kindle. Once you click on the link, you’ll be taken to the library’s Overdrive account. For most libraries, you will need to enter your library card number. Different libraries have different ID’s needed to get in.

Click “Get for Kindle.” Then, you’ll go to the your Amazon account where you can download the book to any Kindle supported device. That includes the Kindle itself, as well as all of its apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android.

One thing to note: Public Library books on Kindle can only be downloaded via Wi-Fi. They cannot be downloaded via the Kindle’s 3G connection.  Wi-Fi is easy to find these days, but if you can’t get to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can hook up your Kindle to the computer via a USB cord.

Loan periods depend on the library.  Loan periods are usually for about three weeks for regular books, so I’m sure it will be similar with a Kindle book.  When the expiration date is up, the book will disappear from your Kindle.  So, no worries about having to remember to return it on time.

Kindle Library Lending is available in a lot of libraries in the US, but not in all of them yet. I am hoping that it will be available at my local public library in the near future so I can take advantage of the program first hand.

The role of e-books is increasing rapidly in libraries.  This goes a long way in breaking the stereotypical image of a library being a large, quiet building full of dusty books.  In reality they are constantly working to stay on the cutting edge of technology, and on new ways to reach out to their patrons.  The Kindle lending program is just one small example.

The Kindle lending program brings the library to you, and this allows people who can’t get to a library to have access to their favorite books.  For more information on the program, check out the Amazon Kindle Lending program FAQ on Amazon’s website.

OverDrive Prepares for Upcoming Kindle Library Lending

As you have probably heard, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is launching a new Library Lending program later this year for the Kindle.  Other e-readers including the Nook have have allowed library lending for awhile because they don’t have the digital rights restrictions that Amazon has.

Amazon is working with OverDrive, the company responsible for providing e-book content in libraries.  OverDrive recently released an update that will allow the transition to Kindle Library Lending to run much smoother.

According to a June 15 press release, OverDrive’s latest update, called OverDrive WIN will include the following features:

  • Eliminate the need for librarians and readers to deal with various eBook file formats
  • Reduce library staff time for collection development and help-desk support
  • Offer support for Kindle Library Lending coming later this year, in addition to every major operating system, reading device, and mobile platform
  • Add hundreds of thousands of in-copyright eBook and digital audiobook records with free “eBook Samples” for immediate access on reading devices and platforms
  • Enable patron driven acquisition, an opt-in program that will allow readers to immediately borrow a title, recommend to a library, or ‘Want It Now’ from online booksellers
  • Provide new ‘always available’ eBook collections for simultaneous access of romance, self-help, young adult, children’s, and other materials
  • Launch ‘Open eBook’ titles, free of DRM

For the whole press release and more information about the latest OverDrive update, click here.

From a librarian’s standpoint, I think that OverDrive has done a good job in striving to be more user friendly.  Since the Kindle is the most popular e-reader, the Kindle Library Lending program will open up opportunities for so many more people.  It also brings the library to the user, not the other way around.  I think this is awesome because there are plenty of people out there who can’t get to a library for one reason or another.

The biggest barrier will be trying to figure out how to monitor the amount of e-books being checked out.  When you have a physical book, you purchase one book, sometimes several if the book is particularly popular, and the patrons can only check them out if they are available.

With e-books, many patrons can potentially check out one book simultaneously.  There needs to be a balance, and libraries, OverDrive, and Amazon are all working on this.

Kindle Library Lending will be such a great relief for Kindle users who are frustrated with rising e-book prices.  One thing to note is that if you do decide to purchase a book that you’ve checked out, you retain your highlights and annotations.

I am excited to see where e-book lending leads us, and how it will fulfill its role in bringing libraries into the digital book world.