Wednesday, 20 June 2012

E-lending - A Frustrating Experience!

I've just spent a frustrating half hour trying to find some ebooks I want on Manchester Libraries Overdrive system. It's not their fault, but it is annoying when the mystery section seems to consist of Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes novels, or have an eight person hold list.  If I want something decent (and by that I mean current and fairly mindless) to read on holiday it looks like I'm going to have to resign myself to spending £50 odd quid on ebooks instead.
The experience reminded me that I had a trilogy of my own to finish off and also made me recall that there is a big difference between the Overdrive we have here and the one available in America. In over 11,000 libraries in the USA you can borrow ebooks for all types of Kindle devices  using the Overdrive platform, I'm not sure how the logistics work  but Tech Crunch did a useful summary of what it meant for consumers.
You can also view the Kindle Help pages on the subject here: 

Bobbi Newman did a more circumspect summary questioning Amazon's motives and asking  whether Overdrive and public libraries should have stood out for a better deal. Certainly while I wish we had a similar service in the UK I can't help but feel that there has got to be a better model, hopefully one that doesn't tie us into a bullying company like Amazon. (Don't get me wrong, as a consumer I love Amazon, as a librarian and advocate of ebooks I have a very different view)  I'm not got to reinvent the wheel but you can read Bobbi's post here:
As far as I can tell there are no plans to introduce the service in the UK but there have been some recent developments here that makes me wonder about Amazon's long term plan for the Kindle. Most recently they have done a deal with Waterstones that will see Kindles sold in Waterstone stores along with a digital content offer. The deal has raised some eyebrows with many questioning where the value lies for Waterstones but I see it like this: Amazon is bringing it's market share and power, Waterstones is offering its shop floor and merchandising expertise. Waterstones gets a foothold in an existing marketbase, Amazon gets a physical presence for it's ebooks.
I love my pink Sony E-Reader but I wonder sometimes if I've chosen the Betamax of the era. Amazon is  so powerful it's going to take something big to compete with them. Sainsbury's is obviously attempting to provide that competition with it's purchase of Anobil but whether they can really compete only time will tell. Given the poor collections available through public libraries  I can think of no reason why I wouldn't buy a Kindle when I purchase my next e-reader. E-lending was what swung me to the Sony Reader in the first place and my experience so far has not been that great.
Next up will be how elending effects authors but as I'm going to ARLG next week it may have to wait. Looks like the trilogy is being extended!

1 comment:

  1. Just been counting the number of places my husband and I have access to our ebooks. It's slightly ridiculous.

    Kindle apps on iPod, android phone, iPad,

    Overdrive on iPad and ipod

    Sony EReader and library program on MAC