Most Kindle Owners Don’t Borrow Library eBooks

Did you know that you can borrow Kindle e-books from your city’s library? According to a recent study, most Kindle owners didn’t know that libraries now lend out e-books to members free of charge – just like a normal book.

The study was performed by Pew’s Internet & American Life Project. It concluded that only 12% of Americans over the age of 16 have borrowed an e-book from a library within the past year.  Furthermore, less than half of tablet owners even knew that e-books were available at their local library.

Among people who do know about library e-books, they tended to avoid borrowing again because of various issues with e-book distribution. Libraries buy licensing for only a select number of e-book copies, which means they can only lend out a few books at a time. For popular books and recent releases, this leads to long waiting lists.

Another problem facing libraries is the fact that many books are not yet available in e-book format. Or, if they are, the library hasn’t purchased digital copies of those books yet. This leaves library patrons with a limited choice of titles.

Furthermore, researchers suggested that readers are more likely to buy a book after reading a review online as opposed to hearing about it from a librarian. This means more people are shopping on Amazon’s online store and then walking into libraries to find the books they need.

What are libraries doing to change this trend?

According to Pew researchers, libraries have been making a conscious effort to expand e-books across their system. The process is slow and ongoing, but there has been a significant shift towards e-books already.

One of the librarians surveyed said that fewer and fewer people are walking into the library to browse through bookshelves. Instead, they’re looking at the library’s collection of books online before deciding whether they need to come in at all.

To address the long waiting lines for popular new e-books, librarians say they have created an email alert system that notifies patrons when their book is ready to download. More funding is also being funnelled towards e-books as opposed to physical copies. Since e-books are cheaper than physical texts, libraries end up with more copies when they purchase e-books.

Ultimately, this issue illustrates just how much tablets like the Kindle are changing our world. The role of librarians has changed significantly over the past few years. Today, librarians focus more than ever on technical support – they manage digital catalogs and e-book borrowing as opposed to organizing physical book placement within the library.

In twenty years, will anybody even visit a physical library? Or will all borrowing be done over the internet?

To read the complete report by Pew, click here.

Harry Potter Series Now Available in Amazon Kindle Lending Library

Good news today for Harry Potter fans who own a Kindle: the boy-wizard series is now available on the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.

If you haven’t already heard of the Kindle Lending Library, it’s a book lending service available to anybody who pays the $79 Amazon Prime membership fee. Amazon Prime users have access to over 145,000 books in the library, many of which are in multiple languages.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was one of the longest holdouts against eBooks. In fact, she didn’t consent to the electronic publication of the Harry Potter series until March of this year, due to concerns about piracy. In March, she sold the eBook license to Harry Potter fan site Pottermore.

For that reason, getting the license to publish Harry Potter eBooks wasn’t as easy as many people expected. Amazon had to negotiate with Pottermore to get access to the license, as opposed to relying upon previously established deals with publishers.

Fortunately, those problems are in the past. And now, Kindle users with Prime can read all seven Harry Potter books for free.

The Kindle User’s Lending Library is not your traditional library. Amazon Prime users borrow books by simply clicking on a link in the Kindle Store. Users can only borrow one book at a time, and the books can be read on all Kindle devices. There are no due dates.

Unfortunately, there is one major restriction in the Kindle User’s Lending Library: users can only borrow one book per month. Since the first few Harry Potter books certainly won’t take a month to read, we suspect some Harry Potter fans won’t like this restriction.

Along with access to the Kindle User’s Lending Library, Prime members get free two-day shipping on any item from the Amazon Store as well as free streaming of nearly 20,000 movies and TV shows.

For those interested, Amazon Prime does have a one-month free trial available. Once your free trial is over, you can decide whether or not you want to subscribe to the $79/year plan.

What do you think? Is Amazon Prime membership worth $79? Has adding the Harry Potter series to the Kindle Lending Library motivated you to sign up? Let us know in the comments!

Kindle Gifts For Father’s Day 2012

kindle gifts for fathers dayFather’s Day is coming quickly and there is nothing like trying to shop for Dad.  This year get him something he will really enjoy.  There are all kinds of Kindle gifts for Father’s Day that your father will absolutely love.

The first question is – does your Father already own a Kindle?  If he doesn’t then the best Kindle gift is… a Kindle!  You need to determine if your Dad would like just an e-reader like the original Kindles or does he want something more like an iPad such as the Kindle Fire.  There are 3 basic models of Kindles.  There is the Kindle, the Kindle Touch, and the Kindle Fire.  They range in price from about $79 to $199.

The basic Kindle is good for reading and has some great features that make it easier on the eyes to read.  However, the Kindle’s functionality and navigation are a little less robust.  When you upgrade to the Kindle Touch you have really made an advancement for only $20.  Dad now has a Kindle with a touch screen that is easier to navigate.  Lastly, if you would like color and more then you need to get him the Kindle Fire.  While the Fire may cost twice as much, Dad will get a lot more use out of it.

If you Father already owns a Kindle and you need a different kind of Kindle gift for Father’s Day then you may want to look at a Kindle skin to spice up Dad’s Kindle.  Just make sure that you buy one that will fit his personality.  Pink Kindle skins are not great gifts for dad!

The next option for a Kindle gift for Father’s Day is an e-book.  There are literally over a million e-books that your Father can read on his Kindle. You can also get him subscriptions to lots of magazines, different newspapers, or even a blog.  Ok lets be honest, getting him a subscription to a blog is probably not the best gift, UNLESS your father is new to the Kindle/e-book world and then he might appreciate a little help.  Another great thing you can help him with is getting him signed up at his local library where you can often check out Kindle e-books for free.

No matter what kind of Kindle gift for Father’s Day you buy your Dad you can know in your heart that it is going to be the perfect gift and will show the love you have in your heart for Dad.

New Software Update For $79 Kindle

For those of you who opted to buy the $79 Kindle (a good buy in my opinion), there is good news today, as Amazon rolled out an update to the reader that includes improved readability, mostly due to a new font that is crisper. In addition, some new parental controls were added to this particular Kindle version, allowing those of you with kiddos to block access to the web browser and the Kindle store. A plethora of other changes came with the update as well, including support for some new formats for books, etc.

PCWorld – Amazon May Bring Ads to the Kindle Fire

According the story below from PCWorld, it appears that Amazon is considering adding advertisements to the Kindle Fire. You can read the story by clicking  below. What do you think about this? I know the ad-supported Kindles were not always well-received, and most who I talk to said they were willing to pay the extra cash to avoid reading with ads. Do you think the same will hold true with the Kindle Fire?

Amazon May Bring Ads to the Kindle Fire

Amazon May Bring Ads to the Kindle FireAmazon is reportedly pitching ad agency execs on the idea of advertising on its Kindle Fire tablet.

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Recent Kindle News – Harry Potter, the Post Office, and Colorized Kindles!

Hello fellow Kindle Owners! Been out for a few days and haven’t updated, so here are a few of the latest happenings in the Kindle world.

“Harry Potter” Added to Kindle Lending Library

On May 10, 2012, Amazon announced that the “Harry Potter” series would be coming to the Kindle Lending Library. The Lending Library is a service that Amazon provides to members of Amazon Prime, allowing Prime members to borrow a limited number of e-books per month. Starting June 19, Prime members will have access to the “Potter” books. These books will only be available for members who own a Kindle and not those who use one of the free e-reader Kindle apps. Pottermore, the recently-launched “Harry Potter” website, will remain the only source to purchase the “Potter” books.

United States Postal Service to Stop Shipping Kindles Overseas

Also on Thursday, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced that, effective May 16, it would stop shipping Kindles, iPads and any other consumer electronics devices containing lithium-ion batteries. The USPS expressed concern about the safety of lithium-ion batteries in making its decision. When overheated or mishandled, lithium-ion batteries may combust or catch fire. The USPS pointed to a series of fatal cargo-jet crashes which are believed to have been caused by exploding lithium-ion batteries. This decision will have a major impact on the cost of shipping these items internationally, forcing consumers and firms to use third-party parcel delivery services such as UPS and FedEx.

Is a Colorized Kindle Coming?

Rumors recently began to spread about the possibility of a colorized Kindle e-reader, in addition to the Kindle Fire. According to a report by an industry insider, E-Ink Holdings has plans to reveal color e-ink panels soon. Amazon has started ordering large volumes of color screen parts. Amazon has also started ordering multitouch capacitance panels, further evidence that a new Kindle may be in the works; the current Kindle touch screens use infrared technology to detect touch. Experts predict the new Kindle to surface in the second half of 2012.

What Cities Are The Most E-Literate? – Priceonomics Tells Us


The guys over at Priceonomics did a cool research project on the Kindle, who is buying it, and where they live. They came up with some very intriguing statistics!

First, while you might think that the largest and most educated cities would have by far the most sales of the Kindle, but it isn’t. it actually sells best in smaller venues in the Midwest and in the South (it was great to see my city – Oklahoma City, make it in at #12!). It also seems that e-reader sales correlate well with bad weather, oddly enough. They mention that maybe the folks with the best weather are too busy to read! They also show that the Kindle is handily beating the Nook.

I do want to try to answer one of their questions – they find it odd that you do not see many Kindles in the secondary market odd, and they seem to assume that the fact that you do not see many Kindles being re-sold is a problem. I actually see that as a positive. Here’s why -

Kindle owners, for the most part are very brand loyal and won’t let somebody take their Kindle out of their cold, dead hands (I know that’s how I am!). In addition, you don’t see as many Kindle sales outside of Amazon because of the strong branding they have done. Given those two factors, you are not going to see many Kindles on the secondary market, at least not yet.

It is a great read, and Priceonomics is a cool site I am going to be spending some time on for sure. They are set up to help people not get scammed when buying stuff by gathering research on a host of tech and other products, which is most certainly a noble cause. You can check out their special page dedicated to the Kindle here –

Amazon’s Kindle Store Went Down Today

Did you see it? The Kindle store actually went down today!

There were lots of unhappy potential e-book readers this morning when an outage caused most titles in the Kindle store to go down for while today. They were back up and running by about 11 Am Central, but by that time, there was a lot of uproar around the web about it!

Fortunately for Amazon, this did not affect the release of the new digital Harry Potter books, which according to CNET actually redirect to another store for the sales.

While Amazon has not come out with a statement about the outage, I actually see this as a good sign for Amazon. The fact that an outage in the Kindle store caused such an outrage on the web means that they continue to grow in popularity as the e-book behemoth on the web.