Kindle Now Offers Sheet Music

July 8, 2009

I thought that sheet music would be one of the last things to go Kindle (along with picture books) but Amazon just announced that they have just contracted to have a large library of sheet music available on the Kindle.


Assuming for size difficulties, the sheet music is recommended (“optimized”) for the Kindle DX, but it can presumably be read on the earlier devices. To see some of the titles available go to the Kindle Store and put in FreeHand Music and a composer. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue no.21 from Well-tempered Clavier is available here.

Lowest price for a score in the Kindle? $1.20.

Not bad.

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Our Kindle ILL Model

June 5, 2009

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.

Goodreads Adds eBook Downloads

April 9, 2009

Thanks to @bencrowder for the info: Goodreads has added eBook formats (Mobipocket, pdf, txt, ePub) for downloads of over 1, 000 books, so this includes titles for Kindle or Amazon iPhone App users.

Picture Books on the Kindle

March 31, 2009

As more and more traditional print publications begin to discard the print model and publish digitally, it seems that the last type of publication purely in an analog format will likely be the picture book.

Holding up a large book with bright illustrations and the touch of the pages as you turn them. The sound of the simple words as you read them out loud. The feeling of the child in you lap leaning forward to take in the whole scene depicted, eyes wide and intent. These are essential parts of the picture book experience.

Unfortunately, these are exactly the parts that ebooks and ebook readers cannot duplicate. Color is not so much an issue anymore now that the flepia has come out (undoubtedly other readers will follow suit).

Today, Amazon is advertising Curious George books for the Kindle so I thought I would share some pics of how it looks.

split title page02

split title page01

There is something missing when you have to page over to see a picture that is meant to be viewed as one combined image.

this book belongs to

This is possibly the most jarring example of how picture book conversion to ebook format is problematic. How does your four-year old scrawl her name on the line?

Amazon: “OK to Lend Kindles in Libraries”

March 13, 2009

I have written before about my interest in using Amazon’s Kindle for circulation and interlibrary loan. Yesterday I received a response from Amazon about doing so. On the phone, the Amazon rep. and I reviewed the public policy found here under section3. Digital Content, subsection Restrictions:

Unless specifically indicated otherwise, you may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content.

Amazon said this only applies to for-profit ventures. “If you’re gonna let someone borrow the Kindle just to read a book, you should be fine.”

Since my interlibrary loan department does not charge for interlibrary loan use, we would essentially be loaning for free. Good news to our library and many others I would guess. I am looking forward to seeing how this affects our collection development and patron reaction when we implement the service.

— UPDATE 3/16/2009–

Since there has been a lot of traction on this post, I want to share a word of caution that may or may not have been implicit in my original post:

Amazon states in its Terms of Use that each agreement is sort of in perpetual Beta:

Amazon reserves the right to amend any of the terms of this Agreement at its sole discretion by posting the revised terms on the Kindle Store or the website. Your continued use of the Device and Software after the effective date of any such amendment shall be deemed your agreement to be bound by such amendment.

I recommend everyone who is interested in loaning Kindles in libraries first contact Amazon for the customized OK. Again, I would hope that this update is redundant and you would have already done this :).

Libraries Loaning Kindles

February 13, 2009

I have been looking into the possibility of libraries using the Kindle to support circulation and Interlibrary Loan now for about 6 months. Now that Amazon has released their second version of the eReader, I thought I would share some of the things I have found on the web about libraries using it. If you know of others, by all means post in the comments.

New Kindle

Textbooks and kindle


licensing discussion private blog

more licensing

discussion on patrons purchasing direct with the Kindle and how to prevent this

new jersey library loaning kindle

Is Kindle Just Another eReader?

March 24, 2008

KindleThis review of the Amazon Kindle was really notable to me because Lifehacker reader Pete Riley actually itemized Kindle’s pros and cons so nicely:

The Kindle has a number of benefits over its rivals and over reading real paper material. First, it weights only 10 oz: It’s lighter than most paperbacks. But since you can hold hundreds of books on the device, it’s effectively weightless.

Second, access to the Amazon store and the internet in general is fast and free. This point cannot be over-emphasized: Free access to the internet! The experience is not like using a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection, but it is significantly better than using a cell phone. Amazon has also made buying e-books amazingly quick and simple; it is literally one click.

Third, many of the books are offered at reduced prices, and most, if not all of the NY Times best sellers go for $9.99. Amazon claims that they currently have over 100,000 books in Kindle format, together with a selection of newspapers, magazines, and blogs.

Fourth, You can email yourself a variety of files (PDF, rtf, doc, txt, etc.) of research papers, public domain books, user manuals, or web page clipping for 10 cents.

Fifth, you can play digital music on the device and listen with standard 3.5mm headphones. This is not something I have tested, nor do I have any inclination to do so. My iPod Nano serves this purpose.

And sixth, the screen is surprisingly clear and bright, much better than many paperbacks I have read.

Pete’s cons:

No device is perfect and the Kindle is no exception. For starters, it costs $399. That’s relatively cheap by e-book reader standards (The iRex Iliad 2nd edition costs $699) but expensive when compared to a paperback book … or ten … or thirty. If we assume Amazon’s discounts on the Kindle e-books are $10 on average, the device would require 40 purchases to break even. However, if you read books from the public domain, such as Project Gutenberg, this break-even number could be much lower.

Another problem is that images within PDF-formatted documents don’t always appear. To be fair to Amazon, the fact that they even support PDF conversion should be acknowledged; however, to achieve the truly paperless library is going to require better handling of graphics. And forget about converting PDF books that were scanned in as images. Until they can perform optical character recognition (OCR) “on the fly,” these books will not be converted effectively for the Kindle.

So free access the internet seems the big one for me. That is incredible. Of course it is a little lame to have to pay to email yourself, though. I cringe wondering where that small fee will lead when users demand more services. Cell phone-like subscription prices eventually? *Sigh*

I have been on the waiting list at my institution to get at this thing and try it out myself for about two months now. As a reader for books I’m sure it is great, but I don’t see e-readers that are only e-readers going anywhere. Just as Pete mentions, the cool thing about Kindle is not that it is a nice book reader so much as it can read a lot of different formats and it accesses the internet. This is why cell phone usage went through the roof (that and the price for a basic phone dropped). The cell phone was no longer “just a phone” but a calendar, a clock, a contact list, a web browser, a texting device, a camera, etc.

What does all this mean for libraries? The Kindle is kind of old news in the library blogosphere but there are definite connections to higher education in general. Textbooks? Someday soon if not now already. Word processing? Doubtless in the works (esp. if there is already a clumsy PDF reader application). Once multi-touch combines with something like this we will have a very portable computer, complete with internet access. It will just happen to also be a cheap and easy way to read and buy books from Amazon.