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November 22, 2011

Penguin Withdraws E-Books from Kindle Library Over 'Security' Issues

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Kindle’s library-style loan capability is one of the more attractive features of the Kindle, but it appears there are still some kinks to be worked out.

Penguin Group (USA), a sizeable publisher, has suspended putting e-editions of new books out for loan on the Kindle, citing “new concerns about the security of our digital editions," according to Penguin officials.

As PC Magazine explains, “Amazon formally launched its library book lending program in September, which allows Kindle and Kindle app users to borrow e-books from more than 11,000 libraries in the United States.”

Kindle users can search for the book they want on the library, check it out using a valid library card and select the "Send to Kindle" option, when they must sign in with their Amazon account.

According to the Associated Press (News - Alert), the publisher “did not cite any specific titles in its release and did not immediately respond to requests to clarify its security concerns.”

It’s a bit puzzling, since “security” usually means “piracy” when it comes to online content, according to the AP, but these are books loaned out for free. Most likely we’ll find the issue has to do with Amazon’s allowing its special Prime members to rent one book a month from a selection after Penguin and other publishers declined to participate, as the AP reported, “but discovered their books were still being included, a policy denounced as illegal by the Authors Guild, which represents published writers.” Simon & Schuster and Macmillan don't make any e-books available to libraries, and HarperCollins has restricted their usage.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that Amazon recently formed a partnership with library e-book supplier, OverDrive (News - Alert), that “vastly increases the Kindle’s presence in libraries and encourages patrons to visit Amazon’s website and buy books,” and that OverDrive CEO Steve Potash said OverDrive and Penguin were “in the process of looking at new terms” for libraries.


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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