The Nook vs. Kindle debate has been raging for awhile and everyone has their preference about which device they prefer. Each has lists of pros and cons. The Kindle is not backlit so reading in sunlight is easy; one version of the Nook is color and doesn’t need a light. From user interviews, I have learned that the Nook handles and transfers PDF files much easier than the Kindle and only the newer Kindle devices have PDF reading compatibility. Regardless of your favorite, advances in e-Readers, both the Nook, supported by both Barnes & Noble and Books A Million bookstores, and the Kindle supported by Amazon.com, have released a new feature allowing friends to share books with each other.
Nook calls it LendMe™ Technology that lets you share favorite books with friends. LendMe™ books can be lent for up to 14 days. You are able to choose the book you want to share and send it to your friend’s Nook, computer, or handheld device enabled with Nook software. However, while the item is being lent, you cannot read the item simultaneously unless you have your wireless disabled.
Kindle Sharing allows eligible Kindle books to be loaned once for a period of 14 days. The borrower does not need to own a Kindle; the Kindle books can also be read using the free Kindle reading applications for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices. Not all books are lendable as it is up to the publisher or rights holder to determine which titles are eligible for lending. The lender will not be able to read the book during the loan period.
The publishing industry has also become concerned with this process according to The Wall Street Journal:
“In the past few months, online clubs with such names as BookLending.com and Lendle.me have proliferated. The sites, some of which have gathered thousands of users, allow strangers to borrow and lend e-books onAmazon.com Inc.’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook for free.
The sites are the latest twist in the industry of e-books, which has disrupted the traditional book-publishing industry and changed that business’s economics. Public libraries can’t lend e-books in the Kindle format, though they can for other e-reading devices.
Previously, Kindle and Nook readers were largely limited to sharing e-books with friends because two users needed to know each other’s email address to initiate a loan. The new sites give e-book readers access to a larger network of people and a larger selection of books. The lending sites have drawbacks. One is limited selection. Most major book publishers haven’t made their e-books lendable, and the books can be lent only once and for only 14 days. That means that with every successful loan, the sites’ available library shrinks unless new users with books to lend join.
Some publishers, which are monitoring the sites closely, say they fear that making books available for loan may deter people from buying physical and digital books. The lending sites’ founders say they are helping publishers because their users, after borrowing books, can purchase other books in the same series or by the same author.” [source]
Should libraries be concerned about e-book sharing and these sites that have popped up allowing users all over the country to share books for free? Isn’t that what libraries are all about? Sharing books? With the new e-book technology, I think libraries are definitely going to have to rethink their stance on e-books and loaning programs of e-readers. Whether we as libraries like it or not, e-books and e-readers are here to stay and it’s how we decide to incorporate them into our services whether we get left behind in the technology craze.