February 10, 2012
Penguin Takes Its Ball And Goes Home
Penguin’s feud with Amazon reached another level recently when it announced no new e-books for Overdrive library lending. Overdrive would send some requests directly to Amazon who would zip the title over wireless to the Kindle user affiliated with an Overdrive library. The process would look just like buying the book, except it would disappear at the end of the loan period. This is the statement from Penguin (via Moconews.net):
Starting tomorrow (February 10, 2012), Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of e-books and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.
Physical copies of books are not affected by this. I think that Penguin’s decision is a bit paranoid, but hey, I’m not the one hawking content. I would think that someone who wants to market books might find a way to leverage libraries as a way to sell more of them rather than keeping them out of the hands of people who may someday buy them, electronically or physical. Limiting the market generates demand for pirated copies. It takes one person to know how to scan, and lots of people to know how to click on a link. Isn't that easier than the hoops that Penguin is demanding of consumers? Aren’t there better alternatives than “no?” I'll have more sympathy for publishers when they discover making their product convenient to buy or use.
It appears that what is happening is related to Overdrive's zeal to deliver the Kindle to public libraries. The company has allegedly violated its own contracts with publishers to do so:
"multiple publishers have told us that Overdrive's implementation of their Kindle library lending--in which library patrons are sent to a commercial, third-party retailer, in this case Amazon--is in their view a direct violation of Overdrive's contracts."
Lots more here:
So I imagine the folks at 3M will be making a lot of calls to Penguin.
Posted by: Matt | Feb 10, 2012 5:19:23 PM