Friday, September 30, 2011

Kindles and Public Libraries

Public library ebooks on the Amazon Kindle. Can libraries' guarantee readers' privacy? Overdrive as the middleman for the public library Kindle ebooks promises that it does not save user information. What about Amazon? Can they make the same guarantees? Librarians have long held that patrons are entitled to privacy of circulation records. This is supported by case law and reinforced by state laws such as California's This may continue to protect readers. I just finished the loan period after checking out my first Kindle ebook. I got this message: "Your public library loan has ended. If you purchase ---[name of book]---- from the Kindle Store or borrow it again from your local library, all of your notes and highlights will be preserved." This is a wonderful service. Amazon keeps tabs on what books I've accessed. I can access them again. Need to read up on a controversial matter or health concern? Perhaps we can trust Overdrive to protect patron records. Perhaps we cannot trust Amazon. What to read up on a controversial matter and don't want others to know? Perhaps accessing that book via your Kindle is not the way to go. Have any libraries put up notices about concern for patron privacy in the Amazon environment? Customization, personalization! Can we enjoy these kinds of services without risking out privacy? What about users chosing to make their reading lists public? Some readers are happily engaged in sharing their book lists via GoodReads, Facebook - gosh knows what other social networking sites - and not doing this anonymously - so we're already got a pretty messy situation. We librarians have been touting the joys of sharing information about ourselves - lists of our friends, books, music, places we frequent, etc. - in the name of... what? Are we being sold "sense of community" all the while providing free information to marketers and advertisers everywhere? (Speaking of music... I've been trying out Spotify and I'm getting the hang of it. I was appalled to find that Spotify has hooked up with Facebook and is set to let people know what music I'm listening too. I was then relieved to find there was some way to get it to refrain from sharing. I'm not a radio station. I tend to get on jags of listening to certain types of music for days on end and sometimes the same album (oops - I mean "carefully curated playlist") over and over. I know it's neurotic and don't need feel the need to make that patently obvious to my colleagues. ) Back to Kindle and public libraries: On a somewhat different note, Bobbi Newman seems aggravated that Amazon will have more information about library users than we librarians will have. She also wonders why libraries didn't set up affiliate status and get some of the proceeds if a public library user goes ahead and purchases a book after having checked the book out via their Kindle. I guess she is saying that as long as Amazon has all that information about who checked out what from which venue, then libraries ought to get some advantage out of it(?) I gather that privacy is not her main concern. See Mike Kelley Kindle Library Lending: A Triumph of Practicality Over Principles Library Journal September 28th, 2011 Gary Price. eBooks, privacy, and the library. INFOdocket. September 27, 2011. Bobbi Newman. Public Library eBooks on the Amazon Kindle – We Got Screwed Librarian by Day September 28, 2011

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