If you haven’t heard about all the nonsense with Penguin, Kindle, and Overdrive, it’s fairly easy to catch up on through the Google News feed. Or Library Journal. Or Forbes. Or Publisher’s Weekly.
I’d rather not offer up a rehashed take on the debacle, but basically Penguin went back and forth for a bit on lending eBook titles to Kindle users through OverDrive, a database used by library patrons. As a result and without any warning, access to titles was taken away. Granted most if not all of the access was returned, but the whole thing is pretty troubling on many levels.
As a librarian, obviously I think it is pretty nightmarish and wrong that any library eBook can just be snatched out of the electronic hands of a patron with or without preamble. As a reader, I feel that this whole situation is one of many reasons why I will never be giving up on printed books and also why I have a hard time believing that printed books will go away very quickly.
Outside of magic, natural disasters, and theft, it is very difficult to whisk away physical books let alone deny access or delete them out of existence. I cannot imagine living in a world where all the books I want or own are subject to someone else’s approval and permission. I also can’t imagine not wanting to have options when it comes to reading because the experience of reading on an eReader versus a printed books is quite different. More over, there looks like there’s a plethora of issues left to be ironed out in terms of eReaders and eBooks. Most of them are problems that you simply cannot encounter with a physical copy of a book either.
Obviously I don’t think eBooks should be written off as a lost cause and I greatly enjoy purchasing as well as reading the occasional eTitle, but I don’t think they’re well on their way to replacing print books completely. Or at all.
What do you think?