Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Public Library with a gift of 10 Kindles

The Belmont Public Library in Massachussetts was recently gifted with 10 Kindles - ' “We put them on the shelves and in a half hour, they were all gone,” said Maureen Conners, the library’s director. '

With a $6,000 donation from Liz and Graham Allison who prize their own Kindles, it's an experiment in that the Library would not have a budget for this and Liz Allison thinks it'll be interesting to see if interest holds up after 3 months.

  In the meantime all were checked out the other day, with 42 patrons on a waiting list for them.  The remaining $3,000 is for "downloading 50 books and purchasing leather covers with some money left over to buy more books in the future and cover unanticipated costs or repairs."
  I did wonder what happens if a loaner is sat on or dropped and damaged, or even lost.

  The library director, Maureen Conners, said, "Part of the reason public libraries exist is to do what we’re doing. This is new technology that a lot of people can’t afford and they want to be able to touch it and feel it."

  Clicking the image at top left takes you to a video of staff training patrons checking out the Kindle, with a few words by Conners explaining the program.
  Just a soft real-world story I enjoyed.  More details at the web page of course. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. Andrys,

    My university library lends Kindles (currently only to faculty, students, and staff). There are nine Kindles (mix of Kindle 1 and Kindle 2) for checkout. With regard to your question about charges for damage, loss, etc., as one example, patrons at our library have to fill out a checkout sheet, agreeing to pay $410.00 if the device is lost, stolen, or broken (*my hunch is that the fee was set when the Kindle 1 debuted at $399). I don't know that the library has had to enforce this policy yet, but it is probably easier to police in a "closed system" like a university than in a public library(?). My fear is that with the number of people who seem to believe it’s okay to highlight, mark up, and actually remove pages from library books, that Kindles might suffer a similar lack of shared responsibility, making it economically unfeasible to continue lending them. Anyway, if you find out any further info. on the Belmont policy, it would be interesting to see what others are doing. Take care.

  2. Very interesting, Batman.

    Maybe the markup impulse can be inhibited by the memory of signing an agreement to pay $400 if something untoward's done :-)

    If Plastic Logic comes out with a stripped down version of its flexible non-glass screen that they can sell at better prices, they could get a foothold that way. In the meantime they said again about a week ago that they are going after the business crowd and not the low-end one. But if that new screen is just as clear, that flexible non-breaking aspect would be a really strong plus.

  3. Andrys,

    Yes, I did see that report on Plastic Logic. It seems that the large screen form factor (have you seen the rumors of a Sony "900"?) might be the next big battle ground, which is fine with me if the "winner" meets all or most of my wish list for the business model. Another nice thing is that I think there's enough of a critical mass of prospective new large readers coming out that I will be able to resist the urge I know I'll have to run out and grab the first one to hit the market before I've had the chance to vet them all carefully :-) .

    On another note, I wanted to comment that I usually see a reply to my comments in very short order, no matter what time it is when I post. You must be either indefatigable, or have a staff of clones assisting you!

  4. Yes, in web blogs, re the Sony PRS-900.
    Not in the News particularly.

    There's no doubt in my mind they're working on one, but getting working cellular wireless will take some time though Wi Fi is good for office/home at least, and Sony's not likely to have a deal worked out to have free 24/7 wireless for wherever a person is (as they often post, they're at the airport bookstore and want to pull a book). Or sitting with a friend somewhere who mentioned a book, etc.

    However, the Sony's more open attitude with file formats and its more fully Adobe supported PDFs, including copy-protected ones!, will be big, considering Amazon doesn't have even basic note-taking. They also reflow-text as needed, as an option. They don't have the rep for customer support on returns and exchanges that Amazon does though, including the 30-day trial, though.

    A good touchscreen (unlike with the 700) and writing PDF notes (as I -think- one can do with the Astak) would be really attractive to many too.

    Plastic Logic looks to be fairly expensive and people already complain about the DX's cost. They've also said that wireless for the first version will be used for up- and downloading files people need for work.

    Maybe they'll now include the bookstore at B&N in the Spring, at least. But they were sure fast to say they don't intend to charge on the low-end of the scale.

    Customer support is expensive and they'll have to satisfy the business community, and while they'll use B&N for book servicing they won't have the profit margins for themselves that Amazon can have.

    My posting hours. I'm rarely awake in the morning or even early afternoon, so some wait 6-8 hours :-) You're probably a later person too!

    I was not keen on getting the DX but it's almost all I use now. I even am using the one purse I have that fits it, for the outside world.

    - A Night Owl

  5. Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.


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