Kindle's e-books come to community libraries(Read article summary)
Readers with Kindles or the Kindle app can now download e-books from their libraries free of charge.
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Readers with a little less spending money may have previously shied away from Kindle e-books in favor of the free paper-and-ink books available at their public libraries.
But now that could change: Amazon announced today that Kindle books will be available for lending at more than 11,000 public libraries for no charge â€“ the same way you'd be able to check out any paper-and-ink book at your local branch. The e-books can be read on any Kindle device or phone or tablet that has the Kindle app.
"Libraries are a critical part of our communities,â€ť said Jay Marine, director of Amazon Kindle, about the new service in a press release from Amazon.
While digital downloads of e-books have been available at libraries for some time now, this marks the first time that e-books from Kindle will also be available, and Bill Ptacek, director of the King County Library System in Washington, said the popularity of the Kindle device means this will be a big change for the demand in library e-books. The King County system as well as the Seattle Public Library offered a beta version of the system before it became widely available.
â€śIt's a big deal for us because so many of our patrons have purchased Kindles, and they've been asking for the longest time,â€ť said Ptacek in a blog item for the Seattle Times.
For library patrons who already go on their library website to see whatâ€™s available, finding a Kindle e-book will be just as convenient. In order to download an e-book from the library, readers will go to their libraryâ€™s website and, if the e-book theyâ€™re looking for is available, they can simply click â€śSend to Kindle.â€ť No need to visit the library in person. The website will automatically send the book ordered over to amazon.com, where they can sync up their device via Wi-Fi or a USB port to download the e-book.
E-book lending will also include the use of the Amazon program Whispersync, which syncs books across devices. So if you have a Kindle and a phone with a Kindle app, you can open your e-book on your phone after reading it on your Kindle â€“ or vice versa â€“ and the book will always remember what page you were on. Whispersync also saves highlighting and margin notes you make in an e-book and, if you check out the book again or buy it from Kindle, the program will retain the highlighting, margin notes, and bookmarks you added to the e-book. Services available through Whispersync also include Popular Highlighting, which shows readers what others have highlighted in their book, and Public Notes, which lets you display the notes youâ€™ve taken in the book for others and see what they have written as well.
Like a regular library book, however, youâ€™ll have the e-book on your Kindle only for a limited time. Kindle will e-mail readers before the due date as a reminder.
One disadvantage: Like an old-fashioned library book, there will be limited copies of e-books at libraries, so if youâ€™re searching for a Kindle e-book of â€śThe Helpâ€ť or some other very popular title, you will have to wait until someone checks one back in. The more things changeâ€¦
Molly Driscoll is a Monitor correspondent.