Public Libraries, Why aren’t you lending nook, Kobo, COOL-ER and SONY eReaders?

I’m really curious about this, and reading a blog post from the Librarian in Black, which summarized a library futures event has gotten me even more curious.

Most public libraries who are lending eBook readers (at least those in the news) are loaning Kindles.  Why aren’t they lending nook, Kobo, COOL-ER, and SONY readers?  Kindle readers are not compatible with any of the library eBook aggregator content and require that libraries purchase titles again, in the Kindle format.  But nook, Kobo, COOL-ER, and SONY readers ARE compatible with some OverDrive and NetLibrary titles because they are in Adobe Digital Editions or PDF formats.  Am I missing something here?  Isn’t is plausible that a public library with large OverDrive and NetLibrary collections could pre-load already purchased content onto a compatible device and lend the device and the title to the patron? The Kobo reader comes loaded with 100 free titles.  Many free eBooks can be loaded onto these devices as well (even the Kindle is open to some of these).

Is it the fine print? Is it the content?  Or is it lack of knowledge on devices?  Your input on this issue is much appreciated.

10 thoughts on “Public Libraries, Why aren’t you lending nook, Kobo, COOL-ER and SONY eReaders?”

  1. The Overdrive lending system, using Adobe DRM ePub, works quite well and, as noted, the intent is to allow patrons to read at home. eReaders like Kobo are easy to use (read, navigate) and easy to load — the Adobe software under Windows doubles as a loading mechanism for the Kobo and a PC reader if that’s what the patron wants. It can also be used to early return items, and delete expired items from the Kobo and the home computer.

    As much as I admire the Kindle, it’s not set up for libraries and until something is put in place, libraries (and patrons) should stick with the current system which works quite well.

  2. I agree with the last statement. And I wish there could be a standard library edition eBook reader and a system whereby we lend our digital books just like our regular books. But anyway, in regards to Overdrive, we have the service but it’s really for patrons to use at home. Overdrive says that you can’t download the software on public computer stations and that it is for use on a personal computer. We have Sony Readers but don’t really download content from Overdrive because of this sketchiness.

  3. There really needs to be one public standard for all eBook readers. It’s not fair for people to have to purchase something specifically compatible to their library. There is definitely more work to be done in this very new standard of technology.

  4. I don’t know if Amazon is promoting library lending of Kindles. I know some libraries who have asked for explicit permission from them to lend Kindles with content preloaded. None have gotten an authoritative approval. I think its Amazon’s market dominance that has in turned resulted in libraries lending them in larger numbers.

    Interestingly enough we were invited to participate in a Sony Reader Library program that gives libraries readers, displays, literature, some education classes. This program seem to be hosted by Overdrive.

    Promoting one e-reader over another doesn’t give me that warm and fuzzy feeling but you have to credit Sony/Adobe/Overdrive for attempting to accommodate the library market. Unfortunately since they are trying to tie together multiple vendors of content, delivery and devices, the user experience is far inferior than that of the Kindle/Amazon or iPad/Apple store environments. There is a much steeper learning curve.

  5. We have a Kindle and a Sony Ebook Reader for loan. The Kindle is much more user friendly, easier to download items onto, and more intuitive. The Sony Ebook Reader is frustrating to use.

  6. I believe that the major reason why Kindles are being loaned is because Kindle/Amazon sees that this is a major way of advertising and is working with some libraries to make it a feasable option for them to purchase Kindles with preloaded ebooks and loan them out.

    Nook, Sony and others have not realized the sales potential that they are loosing by not seeking out libraries who are already using the Overdrive, Netlibrary & EBL systems.

    A sad but true reality.

  7. Mark, but isn’t it the same with Sony and other eReaders – if you BUY your content, it stays there forever. Now, what happens with OverDrive is that you don’t BUY the content, but rather LOAN it (for free). Why would you expect anyone to let you loan the content for free forever? And you can’t loan any content from anywhere with Kindle. So it’s not that Kindle does offer some feature that others lack…

  8. Mark, Thanks for your feedback. I completely understand about the frustration with the expiration of content. It would be nice if public libraries could remove the expiration date of titles loaded to their readers (which have a due date anyway). Perhaps this is already an option.

  9. I cannot speak for Public Libraries, but I have used the SONY reader and the Kindle for some time. Yes, you can get EBL, Netlibrary and Overdrive content onto the SONY, but it expires. And you have to wait your turn to get an Overdrive book loan. The great thing about the Kindle is the huge base of available content that is purchased and does not expire. Kindle lets you get the book NOW and you can keep it indefinitely. Expiration schemes defeat the purpose of e-books. The Kindle also has a better reading screen than SONY and you can view
    your Kindle books on an iPod/iPhone and PC for no additional hassle or cost.

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