If the Amazon Kindle is the future of reading, what is the future of libraries?

Given that the Kindle (Twinkie!) is individualized, set up for one user – and said user can download to their heart’s content – it creates a small problem.  Say the user "Baxter Memorial Library" loads books onto their Kindle and puts it out, available for patrons.  What’s to stop Eddie Cobra from downloading whatever sinister, anarchist books he’d like, at the Library’s expense?

Since the Kindle is, legally, only supposed to be used by one user, the
ordering/content-getting process was made as easy as possible. The
support guy indicated that there was a way to prevent others from
downloading, but I think it entails disabling your payment method in
your Amazon account, which also prevents the owner from downloading

Okay – reasonable enough; an extra step, to enable/disable the downloading for that library/user.  Something that could probably be streamlined by Amazon.  So: will we be seeing the Kindle in libraries?


Right around the time Kindle was released, I read the Terms of
Service, curious to see if or how Kindle readers could be used in
public libraries. My interpretation of the TOS said "NO,"

You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or
otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it
to any third party

…The support person was more than happy to take my general questions.

I explained that the library where I worked ordered one just to play
around with, but that we had no plans to let patrons check it out, as I
understood the ToS prohibited that sort of "distribution." When I asked
for a definite answer, he verified that libraries who loaned the Kindle
were violating the ToS.

It’s not a nice thought, a future where libraries are museums.


2 Replies to “If the Amazon Kindle is the future of reading, what is the future of libraries?”

  1. I think the Kindle will be used for textbooks, and who knows, maybe they’ll catch on for entertainment reading. But I think the end of paper books is a little ways off yet.

    State budget crunches will kill off libraries sooner, I think.

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