Kindle lending library for mefites? December 31, 2010 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, Amazon enabled lending for e-books in Kindle format, albeit with a whole lot of caveats, restrictions, limitations and rampant publisher opt-outs. But hey, books. Any interest in setting up a lending library for Mefites? And if so how the hell would we do that?

(To get this out of the way: hurf durf DRM wikileaks orwell. I like the device, so there.) Happy new year everyone!
posted by Saucy Intruder to MetaFilter-Related at 9:27 AM (50 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

That link claims that books can only be loaned out once, so I'm not really sure if such a library could really work?
posted by meese at 9:53 AM on December 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


I agree that's one of the dumbest "features" of the new policy. However, I'm guessing that, for popular titles, multiple users would have the same book available for additional borrowers.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:00 AM on December 31, 2010


What about doing something similar for nooks? Not to be hurf durf antiDRM. But I have a nook and have yet to make use of the lending feature.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:01 AM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's moronic, and would make any sort of MeFite-associated lending library a very short-lived thing.
posted by Gator at 10:02 AM on December 31, 2010


I'll nook you a book, PhoB. Whatcha like?
posted by boo_radley at 10:05 AM on December 31, 2010


It looks like the nook LendMe feature is one-time-per-book also.
posted by Gator at 10:06 AM on December 31, 2010


Argh. I'd pay extra for a Kindle book to have the one time loan rule lifted. Trying to keep track of who borrowed what and what can still be borrowed is going to be a PIA for my kindle lending program at my library.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:25 AM on December 31, 2010


I'd totally be in on a Nook lending library. As for the "one time only" thing, wouldn't setting up the spreadsheet/db to reflect that make sense? Once someone calls dibs on it, the title gets deleted until someone else puts it in?
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:31 AM on December 31, 2010



I'll nook you a book, PhoB. Whatcha like?


I guess that would be the problem! What do you have? How would we figure these things out?

Kindles and nooks really need some sort of friends' list feature, I think. But I guess a spreadsheet would work, too.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:35 AM on December 31, 2010


Why not set up a pool, or book list? That way, if someone expresses interest in a title, but it was already "loaned out" by the original poster, there might be a chance for someone else to offer theirs for preview. This could extend itself toward being a bit more Meta than the reading group, as it wouldn't be dependent upon a specific author, title or genre per thread/session.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:50 AM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The one-time lending thing would keep me from participating, too, unfortunately. Also, have you checked the list of your books to see if they're available to lend yet? (It's on the Manage Your Kindle page.) Because I have, and I literally found like two that I could lend. Out of 100+ I have on my account.

PhoB, does the Nook allow for a good number of books to he lent? Right now on the Kindle it seems to be a publisher by publisher decision. I'm really hoping more will get on board.
posted by sugarfish at 10:54 AM on December 31, 2010


Hmm. I just looked through my B&N library, and out of seven pages of titles, I have only four "lend-me" titles. So it's not that great, and seems to depend on publisher/title as well.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:59 AM on December 31, 2010


Ah, interesting. I got a Kindle for Christmas. First book I read on it was Ella Minnow Pea, and the first thing I wanted to do after I finished it was to hand it on to my son or daughter.

Not sure I ever fully appreciated the social aspect of books until experiencing this limitation. What's the point of having a whole library only for ME??

I gather this is a major problem with e-books; I'm probably behind the curve only realizing it now. But yeah--lending to only one person and with a limitation of 14 days doesn't really approximate how we traditionally deal with paper books.

I suppose it does raise the question, though, of whether our traditional way of lending or giving books is robbing authors of what is rightfully theirs (i.e. some kind of compensation from everyone who reads their material).
posted by torticat at 11:08 AM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is a great idea. Count me in for the nook list if it ever gets created!
posted by morganannie at 11:09 AM on December 31, 2010


torticat writes "I gather this is a major problem with e-books;"

It's a problem with DRM protected content rather than ebooks.
posted by Mitheral at 11:27 AM on December 31, 2010


How about a general book-lending list?

If you have a book you're willing to lend, add it to the list and specify its format: Kindle, Nook, Physical book, etc. If it's a physical book, and you want the borrower to pay for postage, you could indicate that, too.

If you want to read a book, you could add a request to another list.
posted by grumblebee at 11:28 AM on December 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would be in for this with the kindle. As more books become available to lend, I think it will be quite cool, provided they lift the one loan rule. And add the ability to loan directly from the kindle.

E-books, with drm, do reduce the social aspect of books. However, one perk of lending ebooks is that I don't have to worry about getting my book back. I swear, I've repurchased Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady due to failure to return more times than I care to admit. Apparently my friends understanding of "loan" is quite limited.
posted by teleri025 at 11:29 AM on December 31, 2010


I guess the "one time" policy has some foothold in reality. I'd say about 50% of the books I lend never come back, or come back when I'm 60.
posted by doublehappy at 11:38 AM on December 31, 2010


Just FYI: Gutenberg offers its titles in Kindle format, for free. (And sometimes, the versions Gutenberg offers are better formatted than "equivalent" free titles on Amazon; e.g., the free War and Peace on Amazon is the same translation as the one available on Gutenberg, but with the footnoted translations of French, etc. in the original stripped out).

Also, Webscription.net, the Baen sci-fi/fantasy imprint, offers a number of free books. Pay books are cheaper than Amazon (as low as $4 for back-catalog "paperbacks"), but the back catalog offerings were apparently OCR'd, so there are some typos (en dash for em dash, occasional misspellings, etc.)

Webscription books, free or pay, are offered in a variety of formats, including Kindle and straight, DRM-free HTML. Once a book is bought, any or every format can be downloaded at any time, or you can read the HTML online -- which is great if you forgot your reader but not your password to Webscriptions. (And the HTML is presented in a frame that allows you to set font and font size (leading can be changed if you download the HTML and play with the CSS).)

Finally, you don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books -- I read mine on my (Windows) netbook. For reading on the PC, the Kindle PC reader is definitely superior to the Barnes and Noble Kobo reader, as it allows greater control over font size and page width.
posted by orthogonality at 11:51 AM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm in but right now none of my titles can be lent out.
posted by special-k at 12:03 PM on December 31, 2010


The one time lending can have benefits if the material is desired esp. by scholars, it is like an internet ILL.
posted by clavdivs at 12:07 PM on December 31, 2010


The one time lending can have benefits if the material is desired esp. by scholars, it is like an internet ILL.

That makes no sense at all.
posted by special-k at 12:08 PM on December 31, 2010


No, clavdivs has a point. I go to a conference and give a paper on Obscure Estonian Novel of the 19th Century, and someone comes up to me afterwards and says "I would love to read Obscure Estonian Novel of the 19th Century" so I lend it to them. The likelihood that more than one person would want it is slim.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:58 PM on December 31, 2010


Okay, but what is the benefit to the conference attendee and you for only being able to lend it once?
posted by Pants! at 1:08 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you come by my library and mention Metafilter, I'll totally sign you up for a card. I won't even check to make sure you live in our service area.
posted by box at 1:11 PM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


None of my Kindle books are actually lendable.
posted by smackfu at 1:22 PM on December 31, 2010


I've got about 6 or so books out of about 120 on my Kindle that are lendable. Perhaps we should check back in some months down the line to see if enough publishers have enabled e-lending to make it worthwhile trying to organize something.
posted by tdismukes at 1:45 PM on December 31, 2010


If you come by my library and mention Metafilter, I'll totally sign you up for a card.

If you need a PDF of anything available behind a JSTOR wall, let me know and I'll email it to you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:47 PM on December 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


If anyone is in need of a beer or cocktail, please come see me and I will buy you one.

totally serious.
posted by special-k at 1:57 PM on December 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you are not in the United States the lending function isn't available to you just to note. (Robbed again!). As well you can only lend a book if it is available to that person in their country. Thus Canadians can only lend to Canadians (if we are ever allowed to lend) and Americans to Americans I believe.
posted by kanata at 2:39 PM on December 31, 2010


People will really scrabble for whatever crumbs are thrown to them, won't they?
posted by DU at 2:44 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Says the guy with almost seven thousand favorites.
posted by Gator at 3:00 PM on December 31, 2010


Crap, I meant almost thirty thousand favorites. Sigh.
posted by Gator at 3:01 PM on December 31, 2010


Someone's always got to be the crotchety old man.
posted by smackfu at 3:48 PM on December 31, 2010


Would love this. I'd even be willing to buy some other model of reader than my Sony Ereader to do it. But it doesn't look like the technology is really ready yet. Meanwhile, I vote for grumblebee's suggestion. Where could we set it up?
posted by bearwife at 4:55 PM on December 31, 2010


At first I thought the one-time-only policy was once per friend, i.e. I could only lend a book to a friend once. Is it truly only once per book?!

At any rate, I have a kindle, and I've gone through and made some ebooks in my collection public. I suppose we could include our amazon profile urls in our mefi profiles, and then someone could search them for a book.

hopefully they'll rethink the policy and we'll be able to lend a book out to multiple friends. Maybe after they gather data on their users.

Can we have an amazon pony added to the social links in our profiles?
posted by bleary at 5:36 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


(I updated my profile to include a link to my amazon profile. also, since I like to try and find ebooks not on amazon, I also linked to my bookmarks for kindle and ebooks since I tend to bookmark places where I can get books to load on my kindle.

yay.

wouldn't it be nice if amazon gave me a pony where you could filter my collection to see only the books that are lend-able?
posted by bleary at 5:44 PM on December 31, 2010


Presumably the prospect that enormous groups of people (like us) will combine to share 100% of their purchases (as is being proposed here) is exactly why they're limiting it to one loan per title?

Not arguing against this lending library plan, which sounds neat. But surely it's understandable that publishers can't afford to make non-public-domain texts -- most of which have not yet paid for {themselves + the necessary share of the publisher's unsuccessful books} -- effectively free for all comers.
posted by foursentences at 6:21 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you are into sharing physical books, there's always BookMooch.
posted by SMPA at 8:07 PM on December 31, 2010


If you've purchased the book just strip the DRM and share it.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:45 PM on December 31, 2010


Hey, we could do that with our mp3s and movies too!
posted by various at 9:43 PM on December 31, 2010


But it doesn't look like the technology is really ready yet.

Oh, the technology is ready. (Even the easy DRM-stripping technology...)

The greedy corporate bastards are not :)

Seriously, though, it's not like it is more difficult to create a lending process by which a book can be lent to anyone. The limit of once-per-book is a completely arbitrary imposition which is more difficult to implement, technologically, than to have no limit at all.

Excuse the formatting. I get all italic when I'm pissed off.
posted by lollusc at 10:50 PM on December 31, 2010


If anyone is in need of a beer or cocktail, please come see me and I will buy you one.

totally serious.

Happy new year to you, too!
posted by ersatz at 10:05 AM on January 1, 2011


I have a bitter orange tree in my new backyard and I am ready to marinate chicken and make puckery rum drinks at your command!
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:22 AM on January 1, 2011


For what it's worth from a publishing perspective, as someone who's published books to the Kindle, they haven't even *asked* us yet whether we want to lift lending limits, etc. I suspect they're working their way down a very, very long list and not every publisher's been contacted yet.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:27 AM on January 1, 2011


It's a problem with DRM protected content rather than ebooks.

Got it. Like I said, I'm a newcomer to this whole scene. My husband said it's 2011 and I need to have an electronic reading device. :)

I'm still trying to figure out whether I like it or not. I mean, I love the compact device and the pleasing leather case I also received. It all just seems so ...self-indulgent, I guess. Like, why not just spend a few more bucks to get a book I can pass on when I'm done with it? The number of books I actually want to RE-read is a tiny fraction of the total books I read.
posted by torticat at 12:34 PM on January 1, 2011


Okay, but what is the benefit to the conference attendee and you for only being able to lend it once?

That benefit is to the publisher. It's a compromise between "everyone can reproduce everything and share it for free" and "nobody can share an e-book like they would a physical book."
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:34 PM on January 1, 2011


(Note: I have no idea what clavdivs actually meant, there--I'm just parsing it by my own experience as a writer, reader, and publishing employee.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:34 PM on January 1, 2011


Not mefi-specific, but I just saw a link to this: http://www.ebookexchange.com/
posted by hades at 10:54 PM on January 5, 2011


Oh, but that appears to be a quasi-donation-based model, where you can indicate that you want to borrow a book, but only if you're the first person to pay more than $2 do you definitely get to borrow it. (If nobody wants to pay, there's some sort of upload ratio based lottery, I guess.) And they've closed registration for now. Never mind.
posted by hades at 11:07 PM on January 5, 2011


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