Amazon has struck a deal with 11,000 U.S. libraries that lets Kindle owners borrow ebooks from the increasingly high-tech
institutions. The company said Kindle books accessed through this
method will boast a suite of social networking support, including
Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, Amazon’s own Whispersync app is
supported – which means benefits readers previously needed to scuff up
books to enjoy, such as bookmarking and highlighting important passages,
are freely available.
“Starting today, millions of Kindle customers can borrow Kindle books
from their local libraries,” said Jay Marine, Amazon Kindle director.
libraries “a critical part of our communities” and touted the
announcement as an important step in bridging an ever-widening gap
between the old and the new.
According to Amazon, the process itself is quick and easy.
Members whose local libraries include the online OverDrive service
can visit their official sites and select a title for download. Both an
Amazon.com account and active library card are required. Transactions
are completed over a Wi-Fi connection or USB transfer. Those without a
Kindle can still take part in the program by downloading the company’s
free Kindle app on a bevy of other devices, including iPad, BlackBerry
and the PC Kindle Cloud Reader.
Amazoncheck all eBooks for qualitybut that’s to make sure things like layout are acceptable. They don’t really care what the content is, provided it fits within acceptability guidelines. Quite rightly too. Who are they to be censors or arbiters? And how could they even find time to read each book?
(It’s tempting to think of publishing a book as like exploding a bomb, in that sales die down after an initial peak. The truth is it’s more like a crescendo as the book slowly builds-up a reputation, along with those all-important Amazon reviews.)
I hear that Amazon frowns on the whole $0.99 eBook thing, and that critics are calling for the zero entry-barrier of KDP to be removed. They suggest Amazon charge a listing fee for each book — perhaps $10 or $20. This would limit the scams mentioned above.
This would be a huge shame. Through things like KDP andCreateSpace, Amazon is making proper publishing truly democratic and accessible to all. To get a Kindle eBook on sale, all you need is a computer with a word processor. That’s it. You don’t need up-front fees. You don’t need to be a publisher. You don’t need technical knowledge.
If you don’t believe that’s mind-blowing then, well, I feel sorry for you.
Check your sources
If you hear people campaigning against KDP, check-out their background. Are they authors who are listed with major publishers? Are they publishers themselves? It’s in the interest of anybody involved in traditional publishing to stop things like KDP in its tracks.
KDP is a dangerous thing. That’s why it’s so good. I’d like to see more companies offer services like KDP. Can you imagine what it’d be like if a major publisher embraced a similar concept?
The only bad thing from my perspective is that sales ofmy self-published Ubuntu bookhave dropped like a stone. This corroborates my theory that there’s only a set of amount of users and money within the Ubuntu ecosystem. But that’s a topic for another time.
Incidentally, if you’re interested in computer eBooks, check outWalrusInk.
* ‘Doing it right’ includes having high-quality content, correctly laid-out in the book, and putting together a professional cover. Having a good author background helps too. If the cover look like it’s designed in MS Paint and the author neglects to provide a biography in the blurb, you should know what to expect.