Business Tech now allows checking out library books

On Wednesday, Amazon allowed free library e-books to be checked out via its Kindle device.

“Libraries are a critical part of our communities,” Jay Marine, director of Kindle at Amazon, said in a statement to the New York Times. “And we’re excited to be making Kindle books available at more than 11,000 local libraries around the country.”

But Kindle’s expansion into library e-books, which are already available on the Sony Reader, the Barnes & Noble Nook and other electronic reading devices, scares book publishers who are already losing revenue due to the digitization of reading material.

Steve Potash, the chief executive of Overdrive, says not to worry. The arrival of e-books “is a big deal and it’s a big step forward in public libraries being much more central in the whole e-book growth,” he said to the New York Times.

Libraries are now increasing their e-book supplies to meet demands. Online check-outs increased by 75 percent between January and September so far, as compared to last year.

Publishers have still been slow to add the e-books to their ranks.

“Our e-books are not currently available in libraries because we haven’t yet found a business model with which we are comfortable and that we feel properly addresses the long-term interests of our authors,” said Adam Rothberg, a spokesman for Simon & Schuster, to the New York Times. “We are in an ongoing dialogue with our library customers, and holding meetings with the different vendors who are offering e-book distribution to libraries, so that we can stay abreast of all the possible options.”

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