Our Interlibrary Loan Office was recently approved to officially start a pilot loaning Amazon Kindles to our university faculty.
We looked at the number of requests facutly requests which we had to cancel, either because they were too new or too popular (no other library would lend them). We found that about 10% of these requests could have been filled by purchasing a Kindle Book. Why not try to fill these in a faster, and often, cheaper way?
An interesting sidenote: almost half of the requests we could have filled through the Kindle Store were scholarly monographs.
So far we are limiting the service to faculty only but this is just to keep the demand down. If it takes off we will buy more devices and open it up to other university populations (staff, grad students, etc).
Basic Checkout and Checkin
The ILL staff search for any book that is a popular title or too new to see if Amazon has a Kindle version. If so, the item is purchased, uploaded to a device, the device is then deregistered (this prevents users from purchasing on our Amazon account) and delivered along with a charger through our faculty delivery service to the patron.
Upon return, the device is emptied of all titles (except for the Kindle user guide), reregistered to our ILL Amazon account, and plugged into a charger, to await the next request.
So far this has worked ok. We are excited to provide a new service which will hopefully fill a need and prevent over-lending and borrowing of popular/too new titles, as well as (eventually) saving money.
— UPDATE 6/16/09 —
Since Amazon has continued to deny any written agreement with us, we have decided to discontinued our (brief) pilot. I hope to update further in the future.