Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Wednesday Midday Links: Kindle Lending Launches

I’m reposting these deals in case someone missed them yesterday.

  • Halfway to the Grave with Bonus Material: A Night Huntress Novel for $1.99 * Amazon | nook | Kobo
  • Cassie Palmer Series: Touch the Dark, Claimed by Shadow, Embrace the Night and Curse the Dawn in one bundle by Karen Chance for $7.51 – Amazon | (couldn’t find this set at nook store) |  Kobo ($8.99 at Kobo)
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Kindle library checkout
Kindle library lending is no longer in beta.  According to a blog post at the Amazon Blogs, kindle library lending is available at 11,000 libraries. Using your browser, you will check out the books you want, power up your Kindle and download the checked out titles.
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Apple is holding an event on October 4.  It is presumed they will be announcing the iPhone 5 and possible a cheapie iPhone.
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Borders employees, frustrated with losing their jobs, take the time to vent. Shorter list: They hated customers as much as customers hated them.
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In preparation for Digital Book World 2012, surveys are taking place.  The latest one is from Aptara which can be downloaded free.  There is some interesting information in the survey such as trade publishers want to forge connections with the readers.  That would be a first.  Publishers have always viewed retailers like Barnes and Noble as their customers.
Despite Trade publishers using all of the main ebook online retailers, Amazon is the one producing sales—and, presumably, revenue—by a disproportionate margin (43%). Interestingly though, outside of the trade, in the STM, College, K-12, and Corporate publishers report that the greatest percentage of their sales come from their own eCommerce sites. In conversations with publishers, we’ve repeatedly noticed the trade looking towards establishing better direct to consumer relationships.
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The Harris Poll also points out that digital book reading is on the rise:

While some may lament the introduction of the e-Reader as a death knell for books, the opposite is probably true. First, those who have e-Readers do, in fact, read more. Overall, 16% of Americans read between 11 and 20 books a year with one in five reading 21 or more books in a year (20%). But, among those who have an e-Reader, one-third read 11-20 books a year (32%) and over one-quarter read 21 or more books in an average year (27%).

E-Reader users are also more likely to buy books. One-third of Americans (32%) say they have not purchased any books in the past year compared to only 6% of e-Reader users who say the same. One in ten Americans purchased between 11 and 20 books (10%) or 21 or more books (9%) in the past year. Again, e-Reader users are more likely to have bought, or downloaded books, as 17% purchased between 11 and 20 and 17% purchased 21 or more books in the past year.

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Amazon Montlake has a new senior acquisitions editor.

Kelli Martin has joined Amazon Publishing in Seattle as senior acquisitions editor leading Montlake Romance. Most recently, she was a senior editor at Harlequin, and has also held editorial positions at HarperCollins and Disney-Hyperion.

Prior to her position as Montlake Sr. Acquisitions editor, Martin was the head editor for Kimani.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

27 Comments

  1. Janet P.
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 10:54:17

    “It NEVER bothered us when you threatened to shop at Barnes and Noble”

    bwaaaahaaaaahaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

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  2. Mireya
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 11:24:41

    Reading that gave me a really bad impression of their employees in general. It gave me the impression that they were too good to be interrupted from doing whatever the hell they were doing. As someone that worked in retail, I always took pride in what I was doing, even if the customers were sometimes the biggest a**holes in the universe and I would never consider all customers a**holes either, there were many that genuinely said thank you and gave me smiles just because. It’s not fair to so broadly sweep all customers under the same tag.

    That being said, I haven’t set foot in a brick and mortar bookstore for my own reading material in well over a year. Frankly, after reading that, I am not inspired in the least to go back to any at all. Though I often either fully knew exactly what I wanted, or where to look for it at the bookstore. I didn’t want employees around me at all… and still wouldn’t want one anywhere near me now, after reading that. :P

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  3. SAO
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 11:36:40

    The Harris Poll is a beautiful demonstration that correlation is not causation. The most probable fact is not that e-books cause increased reading, but that people who read lots of books have all moved to E.

    If you believe their interpretation, then the solution to reduced reading is to give kids kindles and e-books will solve the literacy crisis. If your take-away is that better readers have all moved to E, you have to worry that reduced print offerings will widen the divide between readers and non-readers.

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  4. Elaine
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 11:37:41

    This morning I checked the CyberShelf of our local library and they said Kindle lending would soon be available. I just checked again and it is now available.

    Yes! (vigorous fist pump)

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  5. sarahtq
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 11:54:51

    I’m so excited about the library lending, I registered for a library card. I know I’m ashamed that I didn’t have one, especially since it’s so easy………My Kindle is going to be so much busier now!!!!

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  6. Renda
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 12:03:59

    Well, I called my local library, DeKalb County, GA, and spent 15 minutes explaining the Kindle concept. They finally transferred me to Research who then transferred me to a dead mailbox. Oh, well. Since they only allow audio on Overdrive, I wasn’t overly optimistic anyway.

    Then I went to my paid Overdrive with Free Library of Philadelphia account, and lo and behold, there was the Kindle option.

    In playing around a bit, I see that the Kindle books go to your Overdrive totals, like you can’t place a hold on 10 Adobe books and then 10 Kindle, so I am assuming that you can’t check out 10 of each type, either. While it tells you how many library copies there are, it doesn’t tell you how many are in which category. But it doesn’t give you the Kindle option if there are NO Kindle copies available.

    This should be fun exploring.

    Just added two books to my cart to see how this thing works.

    Oh, and the Borders employee, bless her heart. She just needed to blow off some steam. She knew that that light at the end of the tunnel was followed by a massive train of liquidation.

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  7. Elaine
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 12:44:35

    Just downloaded the first library book to my Kindle. Reasonably straightforward, though I imagine I will discover nuances as described by Renda.

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  8. Becca
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 12:47:55

    actually, I sympathize with the ex-Borders employee, as one myself. We had some of the best customers around – we also had some real abusive ones. Trust me, that list was mild about some of the things I’ve seen or heard of happening at bookstores.

    We loved our good customers, the ones who realized that we’re human too.

    and you’d be surprised at how often we can identify the “I don’t remember the name, but the cover was red, and it was just out” books.

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  9. Allie
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 13:36:54

    First I heard that Kindle lending was only in the Seattle/King County area. Then I hear Amazon broils their workers in their warehouses. Then I hear Kindle lending is everywhere. Are they trying to bury the bad headlines?

    I certainly doubt all those former employees from Borders are model citizens when they themselves are customers. They have just summed up every retail job everywhere. They are nothing special.

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  10. Kerry D.
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 14:46:06

    I remain unconvinced by the “ereading on the rise” numbers.

    How valid are those statistics? I mean, it seems to me that they come already somewhat biased.

    “32% of Americans report they have not purchased any books in the past year compared to only 6% of e-reader users”

    Anyone who is willing to pay out the initial cost of an ereader is someone who already reads. They were going to buy books anyway, because they are readers, whereas the 32% are the people who don’t read anyway. If they’re not interested in buying books at all, they’re not going to be buying an ereader.

    Aren’t we close to comparing apples and oranges here?

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  11. Carin
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 16:32:20

    My elibrary has a “Kindle Books coming soon” tag, but I’m not holding my breath. For one thing, I’ve been borrowing ePub books for quite a while and the supply isn’t even close to meeting demand. I generally wait 1-3 MONTHS for any title I put a hold on.

    Secondly, I recently emailed with an e-librarian and learned that my state is moving from Overdrive to 3M for ebooks at the end of the year. They cited a 700% increase in the cost of Overdrive for this change.

    In expectation of this they haven’t bought new titles in months. (I’m not sure what one has to do with the other – surely the books are transferable?) I did learn that the long hold list I was on? It’s going to disappear and I have to re-register for each hold. Growing pains.

    Finally, while I’m happy for all you Kindle owners who will now have access to library books, I’m feeling a little bitter that buying an ePub reader doesn’t make me superior any more. I’m also bummed that library dollars will have to be stretched even further to afford two different formats – either that or the library will decide Kindle is the way to go, and the reader I bought, in part to access library books, won’t be so useful for that anymore.

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  12. LG
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 18:21:35

    @Carin: No, books are not necessarily transferrable. One library is, I believe, currently involved in a legal battle with Overdrive over this. The contract states that they aren’t transferrable, but Overdrive salesperson language can mislead people into assuming that they are. Libraries that “buy” e-books from Overdrive are only buying the ability to access those e-books through Overdrive. That is yet another reason why e-books are currently such a headache for libraries.

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  13. LG
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 18:24:48

  14. hapax
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 18:41:43

    I’m not sure what one has to do with the other – surely the books are transferable?

    aHAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHA!

    (Sorry about that)

    Yes, that is what a reasonable person would think, isn’t it?

    Except, you see, libraries are not really allowed to “buy” e-books. What we are allowed to buy — no matter the vendor, this is a *publisher* mandate — is the keys to access and loan that e-book.

    Usually with very stringent restrictions, some so stringent that most libraries boycott that publisher (yes, I’m looking at YOU, HarperCollins)

    Assuming that the publisher allows those books to be available to libraries at all (yes, I’m looking at YOU, MacMillan)

    Even when the vendor allows the library to technically “own” the title (thank you, Gale!) and sends along an “archive copy”, that copy is practically impossible to access in a useful fashion without the company “keys”.

    Oh, and those “keys”, whether the book is owned or merely rented? They usually cost libraries up to ten times the retail price per title.

    But that’s okay. Once we reach the tipping point that enough heavy readers have invested in e-readers that print books are no longer profitable, publishers will just change their mind and allow libraries reasonable access again, right?

    And internet access and e-readers will become cheap and ubiquitous enough that the poor will no longer need libraries for their information and entertainment needs, right?

    aHAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHA….

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  15. Carly M.
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 19:23:34

    “Public library books require an active Wi-Fi connection for wireless delivery to a Kindle device. Library books will not be delivered via your Kindle’s 3G connection.”

    So Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 users get left out in the cold?

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  16. Joy
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 19:39:37

    Non-wifi Kindle owners can download the library books to the computer and sideload them the old fashioned way just like you do other kindle content. They just can’t get *wireless* delivery. According to the support page:

    “If trying to send to a Kindle device and do not have an active Wi-Fi connection, you may instead choose to load your library book via USB. Both Mac and Windows users can manage Kindle content through a USB connection.”

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200747550

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  17. sula
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 19:53:54

    Thanks for the heads up! It turns out my library is one of the ones participating in Kindle lending…although their romance selection in that format is slim pickings. Still, excited that they are on board.

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  18. Carin
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 20:50:09

    @LG & hapax: Thank you, that sure explains it – I live in Kansas. I had no idea we were set to be beta testers for 3M and rocking the boat with Overdrive. It sure will be interesting to see how that plays out!

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  19. Vuir
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 08:40:17

    The Harris Poll is kinda pointless. The two groups are not the same as the e-reader group would be skewed towards readers.

    Someone who spends money on an e-reader would tend to like books, whereas the group of “everyone else” would contain people who don’t read, can’t read and those who view it with distaste.

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  20. MaryK
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 18:10:29

    Do library ebooks have buy links in them?* *(That probably wouldn’t work because of library DRM, huh?) It’d be nice if libaries got some kind of credit, like an affiliate fee, if a patron bought a book after borrowing it. I can see library borrowing becoming something like Kindle sampling for some people, though the wait lists would probably kill it.

    Just ignore this comment. It’s obviously an idea only suitable for SciFi.

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  21. LG
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 19:39:36

    @MaryK: I don’t know how something like that would work. I know that the library I work at isn’t even allowed to sell products with our logo on them – we have tote bags for sale, but it’s our Friends group that sells them, and they decide what to do with the profits. I have a feeling that the same restrictions would cover buy links and affiliate fees, even if there were a way to set them up. (I am not one of the money people at my library, so, who knows, I could be wrong.)

    But, oh, it would be nice to have quantifiable proof that libraries are not, in fact, giant killers of publisher profits, with every check-out equaling a book not bought.

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  22. pop tart
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 20:18:55

    CARIN said: “I’m also bummed that library dollars will have to be stretched even further to afford two different formats – either that or the library will decide Kindle is the way to go, and the reader I bought, in part to access library books, won’t be so useful for that anymore.”

    You’re in Kansas so a lot of this won’t apply because of the shift from Overdrive to 3M – but for those with libraries providing Overdrive service there won’t be an additional charge for Kindle editions. If it’s available for Kindle that will just be an additional download option for any ebook already purchased by the library.

    So the dollars won’t have to be stretched by the new format – at least not in the way you’re talking about. We do anticipate (and are already seeing) a very large bump in usage so libraries may have to put dollars into buying more copies so that waiting lists aren’t so long – but anything bought will be accessible by those who read ePub and those who read on their Kindle.

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  23. Rebecca
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 01:12:36

    @Kerry D.- I wish they had done a better survey. Such as asking all 11-20 and 21+ book readers whether they bought mostly ebooks or mostly printed books. Instead of just comparing ereader owners to all Americans, including those who don’t enjoy reading.

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  24. Amy
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 12:18:13

    While it’s great the kindle library is up and running, the selection was few at my library and some already had 20 ppl waiting lists.

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  25. Carin
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 23:12:44

    @pop tart – that makes my head spin. I am so used to publishers saying you either get ePub or you get Kindle that it’s hard to understand how that can work. Are you saying that a library that uses Overdrive and “owns” two copies of The Iron Duke can lend out 2 ePub copies one week, then in the next lending period lend out 1 ePub and 1 Kindle?

    If that’s the case then how come I can’t (legally) make my copy of The Iron Duke into whatever format I’d like?

    Or does this have something to do with the whole issue of Overdrive owning the books vs. The library owning the books issue? If that was the case, and Overdrive was more of a leasing agency than an snooks management service it’s a little more understandable.

    I’m curious, too, how is it that you know this? Do you work for Overdrive or have you read something explaining this? It’s very interesting.

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  26. pop tart
    Sep 24, 2011 @ 09:53:14

    @carin – yes, the way it works is we buy 2 copies of the ebook and if both versions are available (epub and Kindle) then that’s what could be checked out. Could be 1 epub, 1 Kindle, could be 2 Kindle, could be 2 epub, etc.

    It is something that was worked out between Overdrive and Amazon – when Amazon decided to open it up so that Kindle users could check out the books. This isn’t to say it couldn’t change in the future, but for right now most of the ebooks already owned (and I use the word ‘owned’ advisedly, because it’s more like a lease) by the library system are now available for either Kindle or epub checkout.

    As to the whole “how come I can’t do what I want with a book I purchased personally” question, I’ve got nothing. I share your frustration and always consider that anything I’ve purchased for my own Kindle is basically a long-term lease and not ownership in the same way that it is with a print book. If I keep that in mind, then I can live with it – but I never buy anything at full print price or even look at anything that is agency priced.

    I don’t work for Overdrive. I’m a public librarian and we use Overdrive.

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  27. Carin
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 23:19:17

    Thanks, pop tart! It still doesn’t seem fair, but I think I understand your explanation.

    It actually sounds better than the current (pre Kindle lending) arrangment as it puts the books in the hands of more ebook readers, but I’m surprised the publishers aren’t upset.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain!

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