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Surprising Science

Public Libraries To Loan e-Books

Following the lead of its competitors, Amazon announced today that its Kindle users can follow a simple process to check out e-books from 11,000 community libraries across the country. 

What’s the Latest Development?


Checking out books from your local library just got even easier. Now Kindle users can receive electronic books on their devices by following the check out process on their local library’s website. “The availability of the e-books will vary from library to library, but most titles should be available on your Kindle for about two weeks. After that, they’ll disappear.” The Christian Science Monitor sees the development as a win for everyone involved: libraries who can reduce their stock of physical books and Amazon which now better competes with its rivals. 

What’s the Big Idea?

But what about library patrons? Is this development good for local communities? Kindle owners will no doubt enjoy having the option to rent e-books on their devices but shifting the attention of local libraries to accommodating a piece of technology which patrons must buy for hundreds of dollars redefines the foundation of America’s libraries. The premise of free books available in a common place ensure that everyone has access to knowledge and that they seek that knowledge in the a literal marketplace of ideas. Will public e-books further isolate communities? 


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