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Why Penguin is worried about the role of Amazon's Kindle in libraries

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Edward Lea/The Press of Atlantic City/AP

(Read caption) Publishers view e-books in libraries as more threatening to sales than physical books because physical books wear out – but e-books do not.

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Citing security concerns, publisher Penguin Group USA  is suspending the distribution of new digital titles in libraries and will no longer allow libraries to loan any e-books for Amazon Kindle e-readers, the publisher announced Monday.

"We have always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers," Penguin Group said in a statement Monday. "However, due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners."

While distribution of all new Penguin e-book titles will be halted in libraries, older Penguin books will still be available in certain e-book formats. And of course, physical Penguin books, old and new, will continue to be available. But no Penguin e-books, new or old, will be made available for public libraries to lend through the Kindle, at least for the time being.

It’s worth noting that Amazon recently formed a partnership with a top library e-book supplier, OverDrive Inc., that “vastly increases the Kindle’s presence in libraries and encourages patrons to visit Amazon’s website and buy books,” according to Canda's CBC.

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